PG Basketball Picks Up Three-Straight Victories
No. 3- Ranked Fork Union Defeats Combine Academy and Lynchburg College
The Fork Union PG basketball team picked up three-straight victories this past week, defeating Lynchburg College and Combine Academy. The Blue Devils hosted two Combine Academy teams this past weekend, before welcoming Lynchburg College to the Thomas Gym Monday.
On Friday, the nationally ranked Blue Devils ran past Combine Academy, 86-58, as Zachary McIntire led the squad with 15 points. Darian Peterson crashed the boards with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Twenty-four hours later, Fork Union took another convincing win, a 93-48 victory, over a different Combine Academy squad to start the day on Saturday. Seth O'Neal led the team with 16 points, while Blake Burdack grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Blue Devils recorded their 18th win of the season when they downed Lynchburg College, 110-52, Monday night at the Thomas Gym. LePear Toles led both teams with 22 points and nine rebounds.
"After spending most of January dealing with injuries, we’re finally close to full strength as we head into Winter Break. I’m really proud of the team for persevering through a tough month and staying focused on our overall goal of improving every day. We played great against both Combine Academy and Lynchburg College. I’m looking forward to what could be our best basketball as we approach the final segment of the season." -- Coach Donohue
Fork Union (18-3) will return to the court Friday, Feb. 10 when it hosts Saint Ignatios Prep at 6:45 p.m. in the Thomas Gym.
Garrison, Pace Announce Commitments on National Signing Day
by Bart Isley from Scrimmage Play
Brennon Garrison and Aaron Pace weren't ready made college prospects when they arrived at Fork Union Military Academy, Garrison as a freshman from Orange and Pace as a sophomore from Scottsville.
But they both were willing to put in the work during their time at the Academy and on Tuesday they made their college plans official, with Garrison heading to Virginia Tech as an invited walk-on while Pace pledged to Averett University. And not just the work on the field.
"The academics are rigorous here, it's a college prep school," Garrison said. "You're already away from home so there's that aspect of it. I feel prepared for college."
Garrison has been a key leader for the Blue Devils, a rock in transition years under two head coaches including Mike Hooper's first season last fall. He served as a captain this year, part of a unique all-lineman group of captains that helped Hooper steady the ship and get Fork Union moving forward again. Garrison earned first team All-Scrimmage Play and All-VISAA Division I in addition to All-Prep League honors during the 2016 season. Garrison learned a lot in those four years.
"Without teamwork you don't have anything, whether you're the greatest team or the worst team," Garrison said. "Throughout the whole rebuilding stage, we came together and just worked as a team."
The fact that Virginia Tech also has a strong animal science program, Garrison's planned course of study, made his decision essentially a no-brainer. It also helped that playing in Blacksburg has been a dream for the Orange native since he was young. Really young.
"It has been a dream probably since elementary school," Garrison said.
If Garrison can find a way to work his way up the depth chart at Virginia Tech, he won't be the first center Fork Union has produced for the Hokies. Ryan Shuman started two years at center for the Hokies back in 2011 and 2012 after a strong career at Fork Union. Now Shuman is the associate director for strength and conditioning for football. Throw in Russell Bodine's rise to NFL's Cincinnati Bengals as well as Skylar Allen's time as a starter at Ohio from 2009 to 2012 and the Blue Devils have a pretty incredible recent track record for producing centers, giving Garrison a strong pedigree going into his time in Blacksburg.
Pace started his career at Fork Union with a broken arm as a sophomore, but in the ensuing years he's transformed himself into a prospect worthy of a spot at Averett. Pace worked his way into a starting role after arriving at FUMA with a broken wrist as a sophomore.
"I wanted to play football so bad and I was just working my way up," Pace said. "This year I started as right tackle and that was something I wanted to achieve. I'm very thankful, Fork Union is a great place, when you come here you've got to have a goal and you can do it if you work hard."
Pace joins an Averett program that fit both his football goals and is a fit for him from a school perspective, though he wasn't necessarily expecting it would be that kind of perfect fit.
"I always thought I would want to go to a big school but when I visited Averett, it was smaller like Fork Union and I think I'd fit in in a smaller school environment," Pace said. "Their athletic facilities are really (top-notch)."
John Hilton (Class of 1960) Dies at Age 74
By Dan Thompson, Director of Communications & Marketing
John Hilton, FUMA Class of 1960, passed away Thursday after suffering a recent fall. Hilton's health had been failing in recent years, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Hilton also had shown symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has been making news in recent years for affecting former football players and other athletes who had suffered concussions during their playing careers. Hilton lived in Richmond with his wife Penny.
John Hilton came to Fork Union as a postgraduate cadet in 1959 after graduating from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Virginia. He played basketball, football and track and excelled in each to such an extend that he was named Fork Union Military Academy's Best All-Around Athlete for 1960. Hilton attended the University of Richmond on an athletic scholarship. He was one of the finest tight ends ever to play at University of Richmond and is eighth on Richmond's career receptions list with 87; ninth on the career yardage list with 1,289; and fourth in career touchdown receptions with 14. Hilton was selected All-State in 1961, 1962, and 1964, as well as All-Southern Conference in 1964. While at Richmond he participated in the Senior Bowl and the Blue-Gray All-Star classic. Hilton is a member of the University of Richmond's Hall of Fame.
After college, John was drafted by the Detroit Lions and spent nine years playing in the NFL - five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, one year with the Green Bay Packers and two years with the Detroit Lions. He had a split year with the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins during his career. In 1996 Hilton was voted the Most Valuable Offensive Player for the Pittsburgh Steelers after breaking a 25-year Steeler's record for tight ends by making 46 catches. Hilton's record for single season receptions by a Steelers tight end also stood for another 25 years. In 1970, Hilton was traded to the Green Bay Packers where he caught the last touchdown pass thrown by legendary quarterback Bart Starr.
After his playing days John spent seven years coaching the NFL including three with the Chicago Bears. His coaching career also included three years with the Washington Redskins and one with the Green Bay Packers.
In 1996, Hilton was inducted as a charter member of the Fork Union Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame, one of the first athletes to be inducted at the very first Sports Hall of Fame banquets. His bronze plaque hangs in the Estes Athletic Center. Hilton was also inducted into the Hermitage High School Hall of Fame, the University of Richmond Hall of Fame, and, in 2008, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2006, with NFL Films on campus to produce an "NFL Films Presents" documentary on Fork Union Military Academy, a number of former Fork Union players who had played in the NFL were invited to Fork Union's football game versus rival Collegiate, then quarterbacked by Russell Wilson, currently of the Seattle Seahawks. John Hilton was one of Fork Union's NFL alumni to return for that game, and during a break between quarters, he was called to join then Academy President, LTG John Jackson, at the center of field and introduced to the crowd to a loud ovation.
John Hilton's most recent visit to Fork Union came during Alumni Weekend in May of 2010, when he marched across the parade deck for one last time as a member of the 50th Reunion Class of 1960 during the Alumni Day Parade, joining his classmates in remembering and honoring their days as young men on the very same football field that helped launch Hilton's dreams of success in the National Football League.