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High school football: Hall of Famer Alan Faneca named head coach for Virginia program - OFFICIAL
High school football: Hall of Famer Alan Faneca named head coach for Virginia program
Not many high school football players can say their coach is a Hall of Famer. Players at Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.) now can after former Pittsburgh Steelers great Alan Faneca was named head coach Monday.

The 13-year NFL veteran is part of the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class and will be inducted Aug. 8 along with Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Tom Flores, Calvin Johnson, Bill Nunn, John Lynch and Drew Pearson.

After the induction ceremony, however, it's back to preparing the Falcons for the 2021 season. Cox went 5-1 in the recently completed spring season in Virginia.

Faneca helped the Steelers to a Super Bowl XL win over Seattle in 2006. He served as the offensive line coach at Cox for the past two seasons under Bill Stachelski, the school's winningest coach who is stepping aside to coach golf.

Stachelski compiled an 88-47 record and guided the Falcons to their first playoff victory in 2015.

"I’m not selling any fantasies," Faneca told the Virginian-Pilot in February. "I’m going out there and coaching football and getting the kids developed as football players and people. That’s how I was taught when I was in school."

Cox is 35-17 over the past five seasons.

Faneca was an All-American out of LSU before being drafted in 1998 in the first round by the Steelers. He played 13 seasons in the NFL with Pittsburgh, the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals before retiring in 2011. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Faneca's wife, Julie Kuchtka, is from Virginia Beach and their daughter attends Cox.
High school basketball: What's next for Emoni Bates after decommitment from Michigan State? - OFFICIAL
High school basketball: What's next for Emoni Bates after decommitment from Michigan State?
Emoni Bates, the No. 1 prospect in high school basketball's Class of 2022, announced Friday via Instagram that he is no longer committed to Michigan State and considering options at the college and pro level.

Bates was a MaxPreps All-American this year despite an abbreviated season at Ypsi Prep Academy (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and has long been considered the top player in the rising senior class according to 247Sports.


As a sophomore, the 6-foot-8 wing led Lincoln (Ypsilanti) to a 19-3 record, averaging 32.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 steals per contest.

Bates appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated at just 15 years old after leading Lincoln to its first state title in program history as a freshman, averaging 28.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest.

In 2019-20, Bates became the first sophomore to win Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors. He was also named a first team MaxPreps All-American after earning fourth team MaxPreps All-American honors as a freshman.

So what's next for Bates?

A jump to the professional level seems to be the most likely move. Multiple paths for high school prospects to bypass college have emerged, including the NBA G League, which showcased straight-out-of-high-school talents Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Isaiah Todd this year.

Should he elect to play in college, DePaul, Florida State, Kentucky and Michigan could be options since they were involved in his recruitment prior to committing to Michigan State.
Emoni Bates in action for Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.) during a January 2020 game at Eastern Michigan University.
Photo by Scott Hasse
Emoni Bates in action for Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.) during a January 2020 game at Eastern Michigan University.

High school football championship updates in all 50 states - OFFICIAL
High school football championship updates in all 50 states
Michigan finished the 2020 fall high school football season Saturday in style and resolution. The Great Lakes State crowned eight champions at Ford Field, tying a bow on a trying and turbulent national campaign that started in the middle of August in Utah and ended 23 weeks later in Detroit.

In all 35 states completed the season, persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic. All but four states completed seasons as planned, with forms of state championships. Alaska, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin were forced to end playoffs early because of surging virus cases. Vermont did not play 11-man tackle football, but completed a 7-on-7 one-hand touch season.

Michigan personified the resilience, taking a 42-day pause starting Nov. 20 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer postponed all sports — professional, college and high school — for three weeks due to a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases. Regional finals for 11-man teams and semifinals in 8-man action was supposed to resume in December, but more spikes paused the return until January.

Others states paused football tournaments this fall due to COVID, but none more than two weeks. Despite frigid weather and snow, the Michigan High School Athletic Association, its teams, players and coaches truly persevered.

Now, 11 states plus the District of Columbia hope to complete football seasons sometime in 2021. Connecticut, Hawaii Maine, Vermont and Nevada have already announced it will not play 11-person tackle football in the winter or spring. 

Here is a state-by-state update:

Season complete

Alaska
Playoffs ended: Oct. 23
Notes: The title games, scheduled for Oct. 30, were canceled due to growing COVID-19 numbers. According to the Alaska School Activities Association, some teams played additional regional games.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
North Dakota
Playoffs ended: Nov. 14
Notes: Five teams were crowned champions, including Century (Bismarck), which finished No. 1 in the state.

South Dakota
Playoffs ended: Nov. 14
Notes: Seven teams were crowned champions, including Brandon Valley (Brandon), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Wyoming
Playoffs ended: Nov. 14
Notes: Five teams were crowned champions, including Cody, which finished No. 1 in the state.

Wisconsin
Started playoffs: Nov. 13-14
Playoffs ended: Nov. 20
Notes: Regional champions were crowned throughout six divisions including Muskego (Division 1), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Iowa
Playoffs ended: Nov. 20
Notes: Six teams were crowned champions, including Ankeny, which finished No. 1 in the state

Idaho
Playoffs ended: Nov. 21
Notes: Six teams were crowned champions, including Rocky Mountain (Meridian), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Montana
Started playoffs: Oct. 30-31
Playoffs ended: Nov. 21
Notes: Five teams were crowned champions, including Laurel, which finished No. 1 in the state.

New Hampshire
Playoffs ended: Nov. 21
Notes: Four teams were crowned champions, including Nashua North, which finished No. 1 in the state.

Ohio
Playoffs ended: Nov. 21
Notes: Seven teams were crowned champions, including Archbishop Hoban (Akron), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Utah
Playoffs ended: Nov. 21
Notes: Five teams were crowned champions, including Corner Canyon (Draper), which finished No. 1 in the state.
Corner Canyon celebrates its third straight state championship and 40th consecutive victory overall.
Photo by Jay Drowns
Corner Canyon celebrates its third straight state championship and 40th consecutive victory overall.
Nebraska
Playoffs ended: Nov. 20
Notes: Seven teams were crowned champions, including Omaha Westside (Omaha), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Minnesota
Started playoffs: Nov. 13-14
Playoffs ended: Nov. 27
Notes: Emergency executive order from governor's office canceled playoffs one week in. Thirty-six teams were crowned section champions, including Eden Prairie, which finished No. 1 in the state.

Indiana
Started playoffs: Oct. 23-24
Playoffs ended: Nov. 28
Notes: Six teams were crowned champions, including Center Grove (Greenwood), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Kansas
Playoffs ended: Nov. 28
Notes: Nine teams were crowned champions, including Mill Valley (Shawnee), which finished No. 1 in the state.

New Jersey
Playoffs started: Nov. 20
Playoffs ended: Nov. 28
Notes: The standard 13 classification playoff format was replaced in a COVID-shortened season with postseason groupings and four-team pods. One team that made the most of the season-ending games was Bergen Catholic (Oradell), which closed the year with a 22-15 victory over St. Peter's Prep. The Marauders finished No. 1 in the state.

Pennsylvania
Playoffs started: Nov. 6
Playoffs ended: Nov. 28
Notes: Six teams were crowned champions, including St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia), which finished No. 1 in the state.

West Virginia
Started playoffs: Nov. 13-14
Playoffs ended: Nov. 28
Notes: Three of six semifinal games in three divisions were canceled due to COVID-19 cases ending the season just short, according to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC).

Alabama
Playoffs ended: Dec. 4
Notes: Seven champions were crowned, including Thompson (Alabaster) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Colorado
Playoffs ended: Dec. 5
Notes: Seven champions were crowned, including Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village.) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Mississippi
Playoffs ended: Dec. 5
Notes: Six champions were crowned, including Oak Grove (Hattiesburg) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Missouri
Started playoffs: Oct. 30-31
Playoffs ended: Dec. 5
Notes: Seven champions were crowned, including Jackson which finished No. 1 in the state.

Tennessee
Playoffs ended: Dec. 5
Notes: Nine champions were crowned, including Oakland (Murfreesboro) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Arizona
Playoffs ended: Dec. 12
Notes: Seven champions were crowned, including Chandler which finished No. 1 in the state.
Mesquite holds up the Arizona 4A state championship trophy.
Photo by Steven Davis
Mesquite holds up the Arizona 4A state championship trophy.
Arkansas
Playoffs ended: Dec. 19
Notes: Six champions were crowned, including Pulaski Academy (Little Rock) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Delaware
Playoffs ended: Dec. 19
Notes: Two champions were crowned, including Howard (Wilmington) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Florida
Playoffs ended: Dec. 19
Notes: Eight champions were crowned, including St. Thomas Aquinas which claimed its record 12th state title with a tough 7A championship. Independent IMG Academy (Bradenton) finished No. 1 in the state.

Kentucky
Started playoffs: Nov. 19-21
Playoffs ended: Dec. 19
Notes: Six champions were crowned, including Trinity (Louisville) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Oklahoma
Started playoffs: Nov. 13-14
Playoffs ended: Dec. 19
Notes: Nine champions were crowned, including Bixby which finished No. 1 in the state.

South Carolina
Playoffs ended: Dec. 18
Notes: Five champions were crowned, including Dutch Fork (Irmo) which finished No. 1 in the state.

Texas (Divisions 1A-4A)
Started playoffs: Nov. 12-14
Playoffs ended:
Dec. 18
Notes: Eight champions were crowned with three title games decided by one point. The 1A-2 title game was postponed due to COVID.

Louisiana
Playoffs ended: Dec. 28
Notes: Nine champions were crowned, including St. Thomas More (Lafayette), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Georgia
Started playoffs: Nov. 27-28
Playoffs ended: Dec. 30
Notes: Eight champions were crowned, including Grayson (Loganville), which finished No. 1 in the state.
Grayson completed an undefeated season while winning the Georgia AAAAAAA state championship.
Photo by Cecil Copeland
Grayson completed an undefeated season while winning the Georgia AAAAAAA state championship.
Texas (Division 5A-6A)
Started playoffs: Dec. 10-12
Playoffs ended: Jan. 16
Notes: Twelve champions were crowned, including Westlake (Austin), which finished No. 1 in the state.

Michigan
Playoffs ended: Jan. 23
Notes: Ten champions were crowned, including West Bloomfield, which finished No. 1 in the state.

2021 seasons
(tentative championship or end dates)


California (TBD)
Connecticut (cancelled season on Jan. 14)
District of Columbia (May 1)
Hawaii (cancelled season on Jan. 6)
Illinois (April 24)
Maine (cancelled season on Feb. 3)
Maryland (April 17)
Massachusetts (April 25)
Nevada (cancelled season on Jan. 22)
New Mexico (April 3)
New York (TBD)
North Carolina (April 9)
Oregon (TBD)
Rhode Island
Virginia
Washington


High school basketball: With COVID-19 guidelines limiting indoor activity, games in Washington's Pierce County being played in livestock arena - OFFICIAL
High school basketball: With COVID-19 guidelines limiting indoor activity, games in Washington's Pierce County being played in livestock arena
With local guidelines restricting indoor activity amid the pandemic, athletic directors, coaches and local businesses got creative to save the high school basketball season in Washington's Pierce County.

Games finally got underway Wednesday on the grounds of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup in a venue typically reserved for equestrian activities, livestock shows, auctions and swap meets.

The arena has a roof but opens on both ends, allowing the basketball games to be played and skirting the limit on indoor gatherings. Puyallup-based Looker Asphalt paved the arena floor in recent days in order to make it possible to lay down courts.
Curtis (University Place) athletic director Suzanne Vick told KJR 950 on Wednesday that nearly 400 games are scheduled to be played on three courts featuring boys and girls teams from the South Puget Sound League and Pierce County League.

Spectators aren't permitted this week but Vick said she hopes two guests per uniformed player will be allowed in the near future.

Thankfully, the area's unpredictable spring weather is doing its part to cooperate. Temperatures are expected to remain in the 70s through the weekend.
Two junior varsity girls games were the first to be played on the newly installed courts Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Vince Miller
Two junior varsity girls games were the first to be played on the newly installed courts Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Vince Miller
A Rogers player takes a shot during one of the two junior varsity girls games.
Photo by Vince MIller
A Rogers player takes a shot during one of the two junior varsity girls games.
Photo by Vince Miller
Dane Looker (right) of Looker Asphalt and Greg Barrett work to finish installing the courts in time for the first games that were held Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Vince Miller
Dane Looker (right) of Looker Asphalt and Greg Barrett work to finish installing the courts in time for the first games that were held Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by Vince MIller


High school basketball: Woodrow Wilson to play in West Virginia's Class AAAA quarterfinals four days after shooting death of teammate Dwayne Richardson Jr. - OFFICIAL
High school basketball: Woodrow Wilson to play in West Virginia's Class AAAA quarterfinals four days after shooting death of teammate Dwayne Richardson Jr.
Six games below .500 following a loss to Greenbrier East on April 6, the Woodrow Wilson (Beckley, W.Va.) boys basketball team needed a spark. Dwayne Richardson Jr. supplied it.

A junior starter, Richardson accepted the team's sixth man role. The Fighting Eagles (10-11) have won six of seven since and find themselves in this week's West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission state tournament. No. 8 seed Woodrow Wilson plays No. 1 Morgantown (16-1) in Thursday's Class AAAA quarterfinals (5:30 p.m.) at the Charleston Coliseum.

The Eagles earned the berth by beating South Charleston 49-43 in last week's Region 3 co-final. That victory avenged a 52-42 loss to the same team in the regular season. Behind a team-high 18 points from Richardson, Woodrow Wilson beat Greenbrier East 66-57 to earn the chance at state and the program's state-record 81st sectional title.

A team photo on Twitter shows Richardson, wearing jersey No. 12, flashing a wide smile and No. 1 sign with teammates after the regional final.
"He was kind of buying into everything we were saying about Beckley basketball," Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd told The Register-Herald. "He was realizing that what we were saying was starting to happen. I think he was kind of the difference in the way our season turned around in those two weeks. And I thought he was happy in those two weeks."

Sunday night shortly after 9:15 p.m. in East Beckley, Richardson was shot. He was hit once in the chest.

Police and paramedics responding to reports of the shooting intercepted a group of individuals driving Richardson to the hospital in a private vehicle. EMS transported Richardson the remainder of the route to Raleigh General Hospital. He was flown to Charleston Area Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Richardson was 18 years old.

A motive for the incident remains uncertain. Authorities have a person of interest but have not released the name. No arrests have been made but multiple could be coming.

"We are processing evidence that we collected," Lt. Dave Allard (Beckley Police Department) told wvmetronews.com. "We are serving search warrants. We do have some things to go on. We're still trying to determine what led to this incident."

Cash rewards will be paid for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of WV via their free app or Detective Cpl. Joe Stewart at (304) 256-1708.

"The message is just keep our heads up," senior teammate Ben Gilliam told The Register-Herald. "Let's play for (Dwayne). Let's win this for him. Let's just do it all for him, because we need to show him that he didn't do all that for nothing."

Richardson averaged 8.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals for the Eagles, who have snapped a two-year absence from the state tournament. Woodrow Wilson owns a West Virginia-record 16 state titles. Morgantown is trying to reach its third state final. The Mohigans beat the Eagles 77-55 on April 3.

A moment of silence in Richardson's honor was held Tuesday morning before the start of the first WVSSAC state tournament quarterfinal game. Tears will be shed before Thursday's tip.

"He gave everything the last couple of weeks," Gilliam said. "It just hurts, because he was most excited to go to states.

"We just have to take his excitement and his intensity and his love and go out and play."