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Around the Hardwoods with Wild Bill

by Bill Turner

Last weeks comments on Virginia Tech’s scheduling drew mixed reviews from the Hokie Nation. Many agreed and said Tech needs to ramp it up a few notches. Others said the ACC has been a bust in football, so the Hokies need to establish non-conference rivalries and abandon the likes of Arkansas State and Western Ky.

The Wild One has the answer- I propose that due to historical reasons, Tech should play a much-overdue rematch with Roanoke College…. OK, I’ve given you time to quit laughing and pick the paper back up- now hear me out.

Granted, my proud alma mater, Roanoke College, has not fielded a football team since 1942. But, surely we’ve got the helmets stored somewhere on campus. I suspect, in case anyone starts looking, they’re maroon with a big R on the side. And, just because it’s been 69 years, don’t think for a second our Maroons can’t compete anew.

This brings us to the old Tech-Roanoke gridiron rivalry and the obligation for the higher-ups (I’ll call him Madam X) to schedule the Maroons. In the fall of 1926, Roanoke agreed to play in the inaugural game in Virginia Tech’s then-new playground, 3,750 seat Miles Stadium, the forerunner to Lane Stadium. Our mighty squad boarded the team covered wagon and made the trek to Blacksburg on Sept. 25th of ‘26 to take on the Hokies. Roanoke played the perfect visitors that day as Tech won 47-0. That same afternoon Clemson fell to Presbyterian 14-0, Georgia Tech lost to Oglethorpe 7-6 and UVA battled Hampden-Sydney to a 0-0 tie. This tells me that even 85 years ago, present day ACC teams were looking for easy marks on their schedule.

This brings us to 2011 and a very fair question: Isn’t it time for Tech to repay the favor and travel to Salem?  Roanoke has the snazzy Donald Kerr Stadium with artificial turf, but I’ll admit we need a bigger venue for this crowd-pleaser, so let’s play at neutral-sight Salem Stadium. I call on the wizard of championships, Carey Harveycutter, to put on this show. With 60 NCAA championship games under his belt, this will be a piece of cake for Mr. H.

As for the Maroon squad,. I can make a couple trips around campus and the frats to enlist our offensive and defensive eleven. And, although I havn’t passed it by esteemed Roanoke Athletic Director, Scott Allison, I’m offering my services as head coach for the tidy sum of zero dollars. That’s right, zilch. No football coach is worth 2 or 3 million to draw X’s and O’s , so I’m giving my mega-bucks back to the school for academics and other sports, which is where it belongs in the first place. Don’t worry Scott, I’ll stroll the Roanoke sidelines in style with a dapper, plaid sports coat and a Bear Bryant fedora. No earphones for me, but it might get some TV play if I carry a Tiki glass with an umbrella sticking out.

I’m hoping to attract three quality assistants for the one-game stint – Salem’s Steve Magenbauer, Cave Spring’s Tim Fulton and North Cross’ Stephen Alexander. Magenbauer’s record speaks for itself so he’s an easy choice, Fulton’s passing schemes will make Tech shiver and Alexander has that hurry-up, no-huddle style he brought from Italy. Let our QB call out the signals in Italian and we’ll have the Hokies so confused, Fulton will send five deep for a quick Maroon six. We should pay the assistants, and I propose about 30% of the $50K some of the Hokie assistants each pocketed from the Orange Bowl blowout.

Harveycutter can stage the pregame show with a stealth fighter fly-over . . . But one-up Tech on this one Carey, and have the silent black bomber land on the Boulevard for a look-see. I’ll handle the halftime show with my well-known connection to Lady Gaga. And, no, Tech fans, I’m not about to ask Gaga to do the Hokie Pokie.

The requisite game breakout is ominous.

Mascot: Rooney, the maroon tailed hawk, clearly trumps a gobbling turkey. Advantage: Roanoke.

Record against top-5 teams: Tech 1-27; Roanoke 0-0. In the American League Central this would put Roanoke up 13 games. Advantage: Roanoke.

Kicking game: VTs Chris Hazley rules here-plus, Roanoke will go with a soccer player to split the uprights: Advantage Tech.

Defense: Roanoke has the Mac & Bob heros, Tech the lunch pail defense. If that Stanford showing was the lunch pail, I hate to see what the sandwich looks like. Advantage: Even.

National championships in major sports: Tech-0 RC-1 ( ‘72 basketball). Advantage: Roanoke .

The ball is in Tech’s court. We can replace Bowling Green in ‘12, Western Carolina in ‘13 or Furman/Akron in ‘15. The bar is set, you owe us one. Name the date. Call Holtz and Corso. The lines are lighting up–Gaga on one and Vegas on two. Early line: Roanoke by 3 1/2.

Now, to the hardwoods where Patrick Henry pulled out a big win Friday over Franklin Co. to get the upper hand in the Western Valley. Mark your calendar now for Jan. 14th, when PH entertains Fleming in what should be a barnburner.

The River Ridge is still up for grabs as Salem, Hidden Valley and Cave Spring look to derail Christiansburg. In the Blue Ridge, Alleghany pulled out the surprise with a win at Northside.

The unusual game of the week, goes to the Franklin Co.-Martinsville girls contest where FC’s Charmaine Hairston came within one point of matching the entire Bulldog point total. This one was over early as FC led 56-6 at the half, on their way to a 61 point win, 79-18.

On the boys side, Radford clearly has Floyd County’s number. In late December, Radford won 102-58. Radford’s offense was consistent in the rematch last week with a 102-43 win over the Buffs.

Now to the promised basketball rule-call for you ref-wannabes. A team tries to inbounds against a full-court press. The ball is thrown in, but in the confusion someone yells “shoot” and the player fires the shot from behind the arc back into the opposing team’s basket. What’s the call?

Send your questions and/or answers to: [email protected]

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