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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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Richmond Flying Squirrels opening single-game ticket sales April 19th

Individual game tickets for the first four homestands of the 2021 Richmond Flying Squirrels season will go on sale on Monday, April 19 at 9 a.m., the team announced. Fans who have vouchers or credits from tickets for the 2020 season will have first access to redeem them through Friday, April 16 at 5 p.m.

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Individual game tickets for the first four homestands of the 2021 Richmond Flying Squirrels season will go on sale on Monday, April 19 at 9 a.m., the team announced. Fans who have vouchers or credits from tickets for the 2020 season will have first access to redeem them through Friday, April 16 at 5 p.m.

A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase online at SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets, by phone at 804-359-FUNN (3866) or at the Flying Squirrels ticket offices at The Diamond.

Tickets for the Flying Squirrels’ first four homestands will be available, including the May 4-9 series against the Hartford Yard Goats, the May 18-23 series against the Bowie Baysox, the June 1-6 series against the Altoona Curve and the June 8-13 series against the Harrisburg Senators.

The full 2021 Flying Squirrels schedule can be found here. Tickets for the remaining 2021 home games will be available at a later date.

Under current guidelines from Major League Baseball of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Flying Squirrels will have limited capacity, socially distanced seating available at The Diamond. Commonwealth of Virginia health and safety guidelines currently allow for outdoor venues to open at 30 percent total capacity, which for The Diamond is 2,943 fans. All fans will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times except while actively eating or if a health condition precludes you from doing so.

“We are so excited to be back, even though we never left and were a big part of the community over the last year,” Flying Squirrels CEO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “The Squirrels taking the field again on May 4 will be a big step for community healing. We are not through COVID yet, and we will be enacting protocols to allow for a safe environment for everyone at The Diamond. With limited capacity, tickets will be more sought after than ever. We ask fans for their patience as we work through this unusual process.”

Fans who previously received vouchers or credits for tickets purchased for the 2020 season, including individual game tickets, will have priority access to redeem their vouchers or credits for 2021 tickets. Priority redemptions will begin on Monday, April 12 at 9 a.m. and run through Friday, April 16 at 5 p.m. and can be completed by phone at 804-359-FUNN (3866) or at the Flying Squirrels ticket offices at The Diamond.

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Kickers

Kickers Announce Broadcast Partners for Upcoming Season

Every Kickers match will be broadcast on WTVR 6.3 (Comcast 206/Verizon 466) or WTVR 6.1. Additionally, WULT Ultra 94.1FM/1540AM, is set to air all Kickers road matches on the radio in Spanish

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The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce their broadcast partners for the 2021 USL League One season. WTVR CBS 6 will continue their partnership with the Kickers to broadcast all matches this season. New for the 2021 season, Spanish radio station WULT Ultra 94.1FM/1540AM will air all road matches.

“Extending our partnership with CBS 6 through 2022 is very exciting for us, and a key part of our initiative to bring the Richmond community together,” said Amy Neal, Kickers VP of Partnerships. “We are proud to provide our fans the opportunity to watch any regular season game through the WTVR broadcast.”

A partnership that formed prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Kickers and CBS 6 are entering their fifth season. Throughout this time, both organizations have partnered on several different events such as car giveaways and the #RallyTogether Fund in 2020.

“A lot of exciting storylines for the Richmond Kickers’ 2021 season,” commented Stephen Hayes, WTVR CBS 6 General Manager. “CBS 6 looks forward to televising every match on WTVR 6.3 (Comcast 206/Verizon 466) or WTVR 6.1. Thanks to the Kickers for the high level of soccer they bring to Central Virginia as well as their commitment to our community.”

The Kickers entered into a new partnership for the 2021 season with WULT Ultra 94.1FM/1540AM, which is set to air all Kickers road matches on the radio in Spanish. John Emmett and Brenda Acevedo will be calling the action. Fans can listen in on UltraRadioRichmond.com.

“We are very proud to be the first radio station in Richmond to do the Richmond Kickers games play-by-play in Spanish,” added Michael Mazursky, President of Mobile Radio Partners, owner of WULT 94.1FM/1540AM and WTOX 1480AM. “This is just the beginning of partnering with the Kickers for many years to come. Futbol is the number one sport in the world and now the Hispanic community in Richmond can follow the away games in their native language.”

Adding to the excitement of this partnership, Kickers Senior Manager of Marketing and Branding, Alyn Carr said “I’m so glad and excited that we can finally give Kickers soccer in Spanish. This is a goal I’ve had since starting at the Kickers, and I’m glad that we are able to partner with wonderful people at Boomtown and Ultra Radio to start taking steps in that direction.”

With the 2021 Home Opener coming up April 24, it is time to make sure you are there with your Kickers+ subscription. Kickers+ is a brand new subscription service for the 2021 season that provides fans tons of value, flexibility, and sweet perks! Sign up today for only $59.99 – Kickers+ benefits include 50% off tickets to any regular season home match, 15% off merchandise at shop.richmondkickers.com, exclusive digital content, member events, and more! Click here for more info and to join today!

Stay up to date with all of the Kickers news at RichmondKickers.com and on social media on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. Download the Richmond Kickers mobile app for news, contests, and more!

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Photos and Game Summary: Rams Win Thriller in Extra Time

In order to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, VCU must win their final game of the season at George Mason, while relying on a draw between Davidson and George Washington. 

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Official VCU Game Summary

Final Score: VCU 2, George Washington 1
Location: Richmond, Va. (Sports Backers Stadium)
Records: VCU 3-3-2 (2-2-1 A-10), George Washington 3-2-2 (2-1-2 A-10)

The Short Story: VCU freshman Ethan Manheim broke through with the first goal of his career while the Rams dominated possession, and earned three points in overtime to keep their post-season hopes alive against George Washington on Wednesday night.

QUICK FACTS: 

  • Manheim scored the first goal of his career while providing five shots for the Rams
  • The freshman pair of William Hitchcock and Jonathan Kanagwa pitched in two shots a piece
  • As a team, the Rams outshot the Colonials 13-3 while placing seven shots on frame
  • VCU earned 6 corner kicks while not allowing any to George Washington

HOW IT HAPPENED: 

  • Against the run of play in the 11th minute, the Colonials broke down the Rams back line when Sandro Weber played a ball square in front of goal to Oscar Haynes Brown who slotted it home.
  • Ten minutes later Manheim headed in the first goal of his career off of an in-swinging corner kick from Toranosuke Abe to level the score.
  • In the second half the Rams outshot the Colonials 7-1 while enjoying the majority of possession but were unable to find a winning goal.
  • Just 52 seconds in to the overtime period Abe kept a ball in play with a sliding effort on the touchline and played a diagonal ball in to the box where it eventually found the head of Hitchcock.
  • After deflecting off of George Washington’s Grant Barrientos, the ball trickled in to the goal giving the Rams a 2-1 victory.

NOTABLE: 

  • The Rams now sit just one point behind George Washington and Davidson in the Atlantic 10 Central standings with one match to play
  • In order to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Tournament, VCU must win their final game of the season at George Mason, while relying on a draw between Davidson and George Washington.

UP NEXT: 
VCU will travel to Fairfax, Va. and take on George Mason on Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m.

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