The Alexandria Sportsmans Clubs monthly meeting on Dec. 18 will sponsor its first ever Virginia Tech Football Night. Several past Virginia Tech football players are expected to participate including TCWs Donnie Simpson (78) – a former Hokie defensive back, Episcopals Carter Wiley (’83), another Hokie defensive back, as well as a number oflocal coaches.The current Virginia Tech squad (11-2) won the ACC title this year and will meet the 11-1 Kansas Jayhawks in the upcoming Orange Bowl on Jan. 3, 2008.The social hour begins at 7 p.m. and the program will begin at 8.A local high school student-athlete (from T.C. Williams, Episcopal,Ireton and St. Stephens & St. Agnes) will be selected as student-athleteof the month.Big year for a Spider
Episcopal High School grad Tim Hightower had a banner season as the University of Richmond Spiders featured running back. The 5-foot, 10-inch, 205 pound Hightower was coached by veteran EHS head coach Mark Gowin while a member of the Maroon football team several seasons ago. In his senior year at Richmond (’07), Hightower has amassed more than 2,000 total yards rushing and receiving.
Hightower is one of three players in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the running for the Dudley Award – given to the top collegiate footballplayer in the state. The other two candidates include University of Virginia senior defensive end Chris Long and Virginia Tech senior linebacker Xavier Adibi.
The Spiders concluded their season with a loss to powerhouse Appalachian State in the semi-finals of the Division 1-AA/Bowl SubDivision playoffs.
Hightower has a solid shot at being drafted by the NFL in the April ’08 draft.
The only current NFL player from Alexandria is former TCW standout Tony Hunt.After four seasons at Penn State, the 6-foot, 1-inch, 220 pound Hunt was drafted bythe Philadelphia Eagles with the 89th overall pick in the April ’07 draft (third round).Hunt has seen limited action this season in rushing the football for the Eagles, while a teammate of Bryon Westbrooks. Hunt has primarily seen action this season on special teams. The Eagles weigh-in at 5-8 overall, having split games with the 6-7Redskins this season.Keith Burns
The longest tenured NFL player from Northern Virginia (13 seasons) was Keith Burns, a graduate from T.C. Williams (’90). Burns, a linebacker, retired from the NFL after the ’06 season having spent the majority of his career with the Denver Broncos.Two other teams that Burns played for included the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After playing for decorated head coach Glenn Furman at TCW, Burns eventually graduated from Oklahoma State (Stillwater, Okla).The T.C. Williams most recent high school football team finished 4-6overall, and one of their assistant coaches, Ratcliff Thomas, (TCW ’92) also played a handful of seasons in the NFL. Thomas led the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles during his playing days at the University of Maryland and then played primarily for the Indianapolis Colts as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
High School football
T.C. Williams finished 4-6; Episcopal was 3-6; St. Stephens & St. Agnes ended up 6-4 while Bishop Ireton ended with a stellar 9-3 record.The Cardinals of Ireton had one of their finest seasons in school history and first-year athletic director Bill Simmons recently named interim head coach Tony Verducci to official head coach.After dozens of coaches in Ireton’s up and down football history, Simmons had initially named Verducci interim head coach last season.Prior to Verducci’s 9-3 record (VIS State Runners-up) in the Cardinals most recent campaign, Ireton has only had six previous winning seasons (’04 – under Brian Inman; ’93 and ’92 – under Chip Armstrong; and ’88, ’87 and ’74).