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Fall Football Preview: Dukes Ready To Defend Title, Spiders and Tribe Ready To Chase Champs

A look ahead at the upcoming college football season and some analysis of the Dukes, Spiders, and Tribe.

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Seven months ago when the clock struck triple zeros at Toyota Stadium, James Madison University stood atop the Football Championship Subdivision as National Champions after a 28-14 victory over Youngstown State in the FCS National Title Game. The victory gave the Dukes their second national championship in football (2004 was the first) and brought the state of Virginia its first college football championship since Richmond won it all in 2008.

Now JMU will embark on the daunting quest to defend its title. Fortunately the Dukes return 14 of 22 starters from its championship roster, enough for the voters in the Coaches Poll to tag them with the #1 ranking to start the year. On tap for JMU in week one on September 2nd is a trip to FBS level East Carolina so we will know just how good this roster is right out of the gate. The Dukes will be led by senior QB Bryan Schor, senior TE Jonathan Kloosterman and senior lineman Aaron Stinnie on offense with senior lineman Andrew Ankrah and senior safety Raven Greene heading up the defense.

After upsetting 7th ranked North Dakota in the FCS Playoffs, the Richmond Spiders 2016 season came to a crashing halt after a 38-0 defeat at #2 Eastern Washington. By all means it was still a successful season for Richmond as they finished 10-4 overall, tied for 4th in the competitive Colonial Athletic Association with a 5-3 mark and notched an opening week upset of FBS member UVA in Charlottesville.

Richmond, who opens the year ranked #7 in the FCS Coaches poll, brings back 2016 CAA Preseason Player of the Year Kyle Lauletta at QB along with talented running back Deontez Thompson to anchor the offense. Much like JMU, the Spiders will throw themselves in the fire right away when the travel to FCS power Sam Houston State, who will begin the season ranked #3 in the FCS Coaches Poll, on August 27th.

William and Mary will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 campaign. The Tribe began the year ranked in the Coaches Poll, but ultimately finished nowhere near the playoffs with 5-6 overall mark and 3-5 in league play. Up first for William and Mary is a trip to Charlottesville to play UVA on September 2nd. While the Tribe don’t have the starting QB position nailed down yet (reportedly five players are in the mix), they will bring back senior offensive players WR Devonte Dedmon and lineman Chris Durant to provide veteran leadership.

With JMU and Richmond in contention for a National Title once again and the Tribe poised to rebound, it appears Virginia will be well represented when the playoffs roll around in December.

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Kickers

No Soccer but Richmond Kickers and Fans take to the Digital Pitch

Tune into ESPN.com for some hot 3 on 3 car soccer action.

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The USL1 soccer season was set to start last weekend. Obviously that didn’t happen. Sports junkies have been reduced to watching reruns of games and marble racing. USL is attempting to fill that live sports void slightly with a Rocket League tournament. Rocket League is a cross-platform 3 on 3 game of car soccer. The cars are turbocharged and the field is enclosed so there are spins, flips, and all sorts of skill maneuvers that talented digital jockeys can pull off.

The worldwide leader in sports, ESPN is set to broadcast the USLeCup on its digital platforms. The Kickers’ Rocket League team consists of one member from the Front Office – Taylor Bostic, one from the youth squad – Aiden Hendricks, and one from the Red Army (the Kickers supporters group) – Mike Dillion. They’ll will be representing the city and its charity partner, Feed More in the tournament.

The United Soccer League (USL) announced today that its relationship with ESPN will extend to the esports realm, with the organization becoming the official streaming platform for USL eCup: Rocket League Edition, which will kick off on Wednesday afternoon on the ESPN app and ESPN.com.

The 32-team World Cup-style tournament features clubs from across the USL Championship and League One competing for bragging rights in the digital arena, and will also benefit local charities nominated by each club to receive donations from fans tuned into the broadcasts and the tournament over the next month.

The Kickers team takes the field on Thursday at 3PM against North Texas.

Some hot Rocket League action to whet your appetite.

 

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Events

Live Updates: Ongoing list and information on Richmond area institution and event closures, postponements

With new information and cancellations coming in by the hour, the below is our attempt to keep you up to date on the latest Richmond area closures, cancellations, and community information, with links to relevant resources for more. We’ll continue to update this article as we learn more. Feel free to leave your own in the comments or email to [email protected]

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Note: We’re attempting to keep this list up to date as often as possible. Please submit any changes, additions, or corrections to [email protected] Want to support our efforts? Please consider making a donation to RVAHub at the link below.




Government & Community Organizations

Restaurants/Breweries

Please note that this list is rapidly changing and we’re doing our best to keep it updated but we will at time have some outdated information. Please let us know if there has been a change.

In the interest of public health and safety, the administration of Mayor Levar Stoney recommends that all restaurants, bars, and other establishments that serve food and drink within city limits eliminate bar seating, move tables at least six feet apart and limit their on-site service to 50 percent of their normal capacity. If 50 percent of capacity exceeds the CDC-recommended limit of 50 people gathered, establishments should limit their service to 50 or fewer patrons. The recommendation does not affect any restaurant’s capacity to offer carryout and delivery. In order to support the residents and businesses of Richmond, the administration will introduce on March 23 an ordinance outlining a city amnesty program for all penalties and interest on most local taxes due between March 13 and June 30, 2020. This proposed program will exclude personal property taxes on vehicles, motor vehicle license taxes, and vehicle license fees, as required by ordinance. The city is also exploring options for a program to issue small, no-interest loans to support small businesses. More information on this will be provided at a later date.

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Northside

Richmond Flying Squirrels offer digital field trip for Richmond-area students

The Richmond Flying Squirrels have made their 2020 Education Day curriculum available for Richmond-area students online as a “digital field trip.” The new website includes baseball-themed learning activities for students in grades K-5.

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The Richmond Flying Squirrels have made their 2020 Education Day curriculum available for Richmond-area students online as a “digital field trip.” The new website includes baseball-themed learning activities for students in grades K-5.

The Education Day activities website can be found here.

The Flying Squirrels annually host Education Days at The Diamond as a learning-centered field trip to a game for schools around the Richmond region. The team has made their 2020 Education Day curriculum, broken down by grade level, available to families and students with schools closed for the rest of the academic year.

“In these unprecedented times, it is still our responsibility to be impactful in our communities, and especially with our future: the kids,” Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “We are very proud of this wonderful work and hope children and parents alike enjoy learning from this information.”

The Education Day curriculum was designed by a Henrico County educator and incorporates state-mandated objectives. The website includes hands-on activities, educational videos, word problems, printable activity sheets and more that align with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives taught to elementary students throughout the school year.

The Flying Squirrels are encouraging participating families to share pictures of their children completing the activities with the team on their Facebook page.

In an effort to practice safe social distancing and best ensure the health and of the Flying Squirrels family, the team’s front offices and team store are currently closed. Fans looking to reach out to the Flying Squirrels front office can find information here and are encouraged to interact on social media through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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