Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Tonight's third annual Central/Southwest Virginia all-star game will be played at Franklin County.
Friday, June 21, 2013
The Central/Southwest Virginia high school football all-star game is not gone.
It’s not forgotten.
It’s just been moved.
The third annual game — which pits recently graduated seniors from the Roanoke and New River valleys against players from the Lynchburg-Staunton-Charlottesville area — kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight at Franklin County High School.
The 2011 and 2012 games were played at William Fleming, primarily organized and promoted by Roanoke businessman Mike Leamnson.
However, Leamnson pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in a case unrelated to his association with the football game and was sentenced in January to 40 months in prison.
Another Roanoke businessman, longtime area basketball coach Phil Miron, has taken over the operation of the game with the assistance of several head football coaches at local high schools.
“I’ve known Mike for 20 years,” Miron said. “He gave me a call and asked me if I would continue it on.”
Miron said it was determined in late February that the 2013 game would be played.
“It’s a great thing,” said Miron, who is an assistant boys basketball coach at Hidden Valley. “Having been in athletics the whole time I’ve been in Roanoke, I wanted to try to continue it on.
“I’m behind on so many things with it. Next year I’ll be in much better shape.”
Miron said the game was moved from William Fleming to Franklin County strictly for financial reasons. He said Fleming’s administration was willing to host the game, but he opted for Rocky Mount because the bank account for the event is currently in the red.
“Basically a cost factor,” Miron said. “It’s a couple thousand dollars less to have the game there. Right now, the game without the gate, is at a deficit. The gate is what will put the game in a plus.
“As I sat down and got into it, to put a game on like this it’s going to cost 15 to 20 thousand dollars. Not having anything in the kitty, not knowing what this thing was going to do, Franklin County’s been great.”
Each player must pay $250 to participate, similar to the requirement for the VHSCA East-West game in Hampton in July, Miron said. In turn, each player receives an advertisement in the game program, his jersey and lodging and meals at Ferrum College during a three-day training camp.
Each team has a 28-man roster this year, a lower number than each of the first two years.
“Ideally you’d want to be closer to 40,” said Southwest coach Jason White of Rockbridge County. “But the good thing is, kids don’t have to worry about playing time. We’ve had to take some of the kids we selected to play defense and teach them the offense, but most of them did that in their high school careers so it’s no problem.”
There is a noticeable absence of players from several Roanoke Valley schools on the Southwest roster.
No players from Patrick Henry, William Fleming, Cave Spring, Hidden Valley, William Byrd or North Cross will suit up tonight. Salem, Northside and Glenvar each just have one representative.
“I wish we had a little more,” Miron said. “We’ve had few kids drop here and there for various reasons. Some of the coaches probably figured we weren’t going to have it this year and didn’t nominate kids.
“I think they were just happy at that stage of the game that somebody was crazy enough to take it on.”
Miron said the site for a 2014 game is undetermined.
“I’d like to explore Salem Stadium,” he said. “I’d like to explore Bogle [Stadium]. I think Roanoke maybe gives you a little more [attendance] from a walk-up standpoint. We’ll find out. I may be wrong.”
Miron said he also might pursue acquiring tax-emempt, nonprofit status for the game.
“It would be easier to get some sponsorships where you could turn it into that academic-type, charitable situation,” he said.
“My goal is next year getting things out to coaches in preseason so the coaches are aware of it a little more. I’d like to grow this thing enough to where we give some scholarships.”
Miron said he is committed to keeping the game alive for the region’s athletes and coaches.
“If I can live through this and keep my sanity, that would be nice,” he said.
Weather JournalEarly mix, then ice storm Sunday