After a long wait, BHS Basketball Returns to Action
By: Ben Elliott
After a long wait we’re finally back! Don’t get me wrong, I love all sports, however, I have a particular love for the hardwood! I am so excited to get into the pre-season previews for both the BHS Boys and Girls Basketball Teams, so let's waste no more time and get into it!
Starting with my beloved Broadway Girls basketball team.
Last year was an epic triumph for the program. We made steady progress from the previous season to rack up 14 wins and a playoff victory in Fort Defiance. The game was an action packed one. We beat the high-flying Fort squad late in the 4th on some clutch free throws to win our first playoff game in a handful of years. Unfortunately, the season came to a closer with a hard-fought loss in Lynchburg to LCA in the Region 3C Quarterfinals.
So, the real question is, where do we go from here?
Well, for starters, the team will be led by interim coach Zach Yoder. Yoder a Broadway legend on and off the court, brings an unmeasured basketball IQ to the sideline. I’ve heard him referred to as the smartest player one has ever seen. I’m excited to learn from him this year on the sideline. Coach Willie Tinnell, Coach Janna Grandle and Coach Ben Elliott will each return to the sideline as Assistant Coaches for the Gobblers. The JV staff will see Coaches Delawder and Bland back as well. I love these folks dearly and cannot wait to learn from all of them.
With the staff shout outs out of the way, how’s the roster looking?
Last year we graduated two seniors, Lindsey Wimer and Lily Gatesman who both made invaluable contributions to the program and I am eternally grateful for the two of them. They taught me a ton and I owe a lot of what I know to the two of them and I wish them all the best moving forward. We introduce a handful of fresh faces to the mix. Seniors Keely Spencer and Natalee Strawderman and freshmen Mady Ennis and Ella Yoder. Along with Junior transfer Izzy Von Arnswaldt. Addison Shanholtz comes up from JV to complete our round of new faces!
Returners are Wren Wheeler, Lexie Dingus, Maya Bacon, Hannah Tinnell, April Gingerich and Kaley Runion.
We’ve got a great group of kids here that I am beyond grateful to coach again. A huge list of personalities and hard workers that I know will do what our staff tells them to do in order to succeed.
As for the schedule, we have our normal valley district matchups in addition to two new faces to the valley this season. William Monroe Hawks and Jordan Biller’s East Rockingham Eagles. I’ve faced these programs sparingly over the years and am more than happy to have them in the district this year. The only new opponents on the schedule this year are Luray, and Page County! We’ve also got the holiday tournament in Strasburg where we’ll take on Sherando and another to be determined opponent.
I’m really looking forward to this season for my Lady Gobblers. I hope for steady improvement and growth for everyone involved on and off the court. Of course, I’d love to be right back in the playoffs and if everything goes to plan that’s where we’ll be!
Next up on the docket is the boys program!
The BHS Boys basketball program is faithfully led by recent 200 game winner Dwight Walton and his trusted assistant Terry Jameson. I say it every year and I'll say it again for years to come. I’m forever indebted to these two men; they’ve taught me more than I could express and they instilled in me a love for the game that I hope to pass along to the next generation!
The JV program will be led once again by coach Wilkerson and Coach Reardon! Both are great guys who I’ve been lucky to get to know over the years.
The roster construction for the boys is missing a handful of notable players who have graduated to the next level. The team will be tasked with replacing Jowell Santiago, Caleb Barnes and Breylon Miller, three starters from a year ago. The 2023 team will feature a group of three seniors including Conner Michael, Jet Gonzalez and Eric Santiago. The roster is made up of a large group of Juniors this season, including newcomers Grayson Jacquez, Brady Ray and Tucker Trout. The Junior class also features three returning players this season including Samuel Post and Braden Burkhalter, both of whom played impactful minutes last season. Junior Tristan Yoder returns as well after a big sophomore season. Yoder, who holds the school record for three pointers in a game, is expected to be one of the focal points of the offense this season. Sophomore Victor Diaz-Hernandez and Freshman Elijah Post make up the underclassman for the team, but could each provide valuable minutes for the Gobblers this season.
The Boys schedule is virtually the same as the girls, except swap holiday tournaments. The boys will play Monticello and a to-be determined opponent in December at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke.
Despite some of the new faces on the court for the boys this season yet, there’s no one else better fit to lead this team than the legendary duo of Walton and Jameson. These two are as good as it gets, and I have zero doubt in my mind that the boys will be in the playoffs hunt as the season draws to a close in February.
As always, I am really looking forward to another great winter for each team!
Most importantly, to the fans. You are the reason why we love what we do here. If it wasn’t for you guys this experience wouldn’t be nearly what it is. Thank you for all your continued support!!
You can hear many of the BHS Basketball games live on the Gobblers Sports Network. The tentative schedule is to broadcast 25 games this coming season. Be sure to check out the 2023-2024 BHS Basketball Broadcast Schedule at http://www.gobblerssportsnetwork.com
BHS Football leads the Broadway Community in Keeping Bucky's Memory Alive
By: Ben Elliott
In my first year coaching, I gained a reputation for being jittery before games. There were even such accusations of me pacing back and forth which I can’t confirm or deny. However, over the years I've learned to stay more level headed which I’m usually very good about.
Yet despite the change, there’s one game that I always revert back to that first year all over again. The Soldier Tribute Game.
Being here at Broadway means we get to shed light on some pretty important issues throughout the football season. We do games for childhood cancer & breast cancer awareness in addition to the final home game of the season which is always Soldier Tribute Night. These nights are cherished by all those involved. As a player, wearing the jerseys into school during any one of these nights is a different feeling. You’re playing for something much bigger than yourself.
And Soldier Tribute is a perfect reminder of playing for something bigger than you.
I remember my first tribute experience as a member of the program back in 2019. Our Thursday night pregame meal featured various speakers that discussed their experiences and battles with PTSD since returning from combat. It gave us an eye opening moment that none of us will ever forget. You get a sense of just how real that experience is and more importantly, how universal that experience is all across the country.
My great grandfather served in World War II in the Army and my grandfather served in Vietnam with the Navy. Although I wasn’t old enough to ask either one of them about their various times in the service, I’ve gotten to know stories from people that remind me of them. My family and I are from Worcester, Massachusetts, which like any other small town or city, holds a huge veteran population. And I remember having my grandmother down to visit in person at Soldier Tribute Night in 2019 and it was an unbelievable time.
It showed me that this game is much bigger than us, and its reach is truly nationwide.
By far the most goosebumps inducing moment of the tribute night has to be pregame.
We warm up as normal in our compressions, saving the big uniform reveal for game time. We come back down to the locker room and one deserving player gets to wear Bucky Anderson’s #21. One of Bucky’s officer’s hands out the jersey to the player minutes before the game. Hearing the famous “number so and so, you’re in the wrong jersey tonight” speech never gets old and brings goosebumps to me every time I think about it.
Having the number 21 back on the field with us is a testament to just how big a community can be. When asked about what Soldier Tribute Night means to her, Margaret Anderson, Bucky’s Mom said:
"As a mother it means they haven't forgotten my son. The soldier tribute game means so much to my family and I. I truly believe the community loves this night, Bucky loved playing football at Broadway and on Thursday night before the game I would fix a big meal at our house for Bucky and some of his teammates. It is always an honor to me when they hand out the 21 jersey on that Friday night. Bucky's commanding officer makes the trip from Pennsylvania to give out that jersey. The soldiers that come to Broadway on Soldier Tribute Game are from all over our country. They come Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia. Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York,”.
I must admit, winning the game and going to see the Anderson family and members of Bucky’s regiment is a feeling that is second to none. And I am sure that everyone who has ever been apart of that night will tell you, we may not remember every detail of most games we play however, we remember every little detail about every tribute night we’ve ever been a part of. We remember the motorcycles blaring pregame, we remember the heart wrenching stories and most importantly, we remember to always look for #21 on the scoreboard because it always has a way of showing up. We remember that community support goes further than one could ever imagine.
When we asked Margaret Anderson what she would say to the Broadway Community, her response shows just how special this community is;
"My family and I would like to thank our Broadway community for the love and support they have shown us since this nightmare happened. The community is so awesome and always welcomes the soldiers that Bucky served with and the soldiers from Ft. Drum that attend the soldier's tribute game. We live in a great community. Broadway football coaches, players and parents are the best. Coach Grogg always tells me if you need anything please let me know. Coach Grogg is one of my biggest supporters for Bucky's bingo and any fundraiser I need him for. Coach Trumbo and former Coach Herndon were Bucky's coaches when he played for Broadway. Coach Willie Tinnell has been my biggest supporter since 2010 when Bucky was KIA [Killed In Action]. So yeah the community we live in is the greatest community around."
Broadway will hold Soldier Tribute Night activities on Friday, November 3 when the Gobblers host Harrisonburg.
Bucky Anderson's family is honored as Honorary Captains during the 2022 Soldier Tribute Game at BHS.
By: Micah Morris
Broadway High School didn’t have to look far for it’s Interim Girls Basketball Coach, turning to a familiar face within BHS athletics to lead the program. On Tuesday, Broadway Athletic Director, Ryan Ritter announced that Zach Yoder has been named the new Girls Basketball Coach for the Gobblers.
Yoder, a BHS Alumni (Class of 1997) is best known for his standout career on the BHS Boys Basketball Team. Yoder finished his distinguished BHS career with 1,641 career points, a school record that still stands. Yoder, also made 375 career Free Throws, a BHS record and set the school record for Season Points with 574 in 1996-1997, a record that remains intact. During the 1996-1997 season, Yoder also set the school record for Assists in a season, with 216. It was also during that season that he set the school record Assists in a Single Game with 17. Yoder was named to the 1996 All-District First Team and All-Region Second Team, and in 1997 was 1st Team All-District, 1st Team All-Region and 2nd Team All-State. In 1997 he was also named to the Virginia All-State Team by USA Today.
Yoder, a 2015 inductee into the Broadway High School Hall of Fame, will be make his coaching debut when BHS opens the 2023-2024 season by hosting Fort Defiance on November 28.
By: Micah Morris
The Broadway High School Athletics Hall of Fame welcomed six new individuals into the fraternity with it’s Class of 2023. The BHS Hall of Fame has welcomed 68 members since the inaugural class, in 2012.
The BHS Hall of Fame Class of 2023 includes:
Jesse Fulk (BHS Class of 1961)
Jesse Fulk was a multi-sport athlete, lettering in Basketball, Football and Track, scoring a BHS School record 112 ¾ individual points in track, including scoring in Shot Put, Discus 880 meter Relay, High Hurdles and Broad Jump. Fulk capped it off as a member of the 1961 District Champion Basketball Team.
Heather Cantrell (BHS Class of 2013)
Heather Cantrell was the true face of Girls athletics over her time at BHS. Cantrell, excelled in each sport she played, setting school records in each. On the diamond, Cantrell was named to the All-District 1st Team all Four Years, she was a Two-Time 1st Team All-Region Player, and was named 1st Team All State as a Junior and 2nd Team All-State as a Senior. Cantrell played in 106 career games for the Gobblers, batting .435 with 23 triples and 93 RBIs. Cantrell’s 345 at-bats still stands as the most in school history. On the Hardwood, Cantrell scored 1,130 career points and grabbed 604 rebounds. She was named to the All District 1st Team three times and twice was selected to the All-Region 1st Team. Cantrell holds the School Record with a 48.9 FG%. Heather also excelled at Volleyball, where she currently holds the BHS School Record for most Match Spikes with 53.
Chris Knight (Class of 2011)
Chris Knight enters the Hall of Fame as one of the most decorated BHS Basketball Players of all time. Knight ended his career with 1,258 Career Points, second in BHS histroy. Knight also holds the record for Season three points, which was set in 2010-2011 when he drilled 64 threes. Knight also holds the BHS record for Steals in a Season, and when his playing career ended, he held the record for Steals in a Career. Knight ranks 10th all-time in Season assists with 90 and 3rd all time in scoring in a single season. Knight was named to the All-District First Team three times and was the District Player of the Year in his senior season. Knight alo earned 2nd Team All Region Honors and was twice named to the 2nd Team All-State.
Joe Jones goes down in history as the first full time Athletic Director at Broadway High School. Jones served as AD from 1970-1978, taking the role full-time in 1975. Jones also served as the Heat Coach of Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Golf and Baseball. Coach Jones won over 150 games as the Varsity Head Basketball Coach.
Steve May (Class of 1962)
Steve May earned eight Varsity letters in Football and Track and Field. May led the Football Team in rushing yards in 1959 and 1960. In 1961, May was named the Co-Captain of the football team, and scored 24 points in a single football game, a BHS school record. May was a District Track Champion in 1960 and finished in 6th place in the State Track 180-Yard Low Hurdles. In 1961 May was again a District Track Champion and finished 4th place in the State Track 180-Yard Low Hurdles. In 1962, May was again a District Track Champion and finished as the State Runner-Up in the 180-Yard Low Hurdles.
Anna Smith (Class of 1998)
Anna Smith enters the Hall of Fame after a standout Softball Career at BHS. Smith was a three time 1st Team All-District Selection and a 2-Time 2nd Team All-Region Selection. Smith also earned 1st Team All-State Honors in her Senior Year. Smith is the current BHS Record Holder for Walks in a Season with 32.
These new members were honored at a ceremony in October, and now they, and their accomplishments will be forever enshrined in the Broadway High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
To see more about the BHS Hall of Fame visit:
After a solid start to their seasons, BHS Volleyball & Football prepare for the second half with visions set on the playoffs.
By: Ben Elliott
The leaves are starting to turn red, and the temperature is steadily falling (although not enough, especially for outside football practices), that can only mean one thing, fall or autumn (whichever you prefer) is upon us!
Which in turn also means it's time for the mid-season Fall Sports Recap!
Starting with Volleyball:
So far this season as of the date this is being written, the Lady Gobblers have racked up five wins on the young season. All non-conference wins against former valley foe Waynesboro, a pair of tournament wins against Monticello and Chancellor, and a pair of wins against familiar faces EMHS and Stuarts Draft.
To me, early in the year, the team has been so much fun to watch. They played a heck of a game at home against Turner Ashby which pushed to 5 sets with plenty of action throughout.
Although they didn’t come out on top of the scoreboard like they would’ve liked, the team displayed numerous qualities that are unteachable, like heart and hustle. There were plenty of times a player went flying into the bleachers or against the wall mat in order to keep a ball in play. These Jeter-like plays will lead to more wins than losses in the very near future for coach Frey and Co.
I have no doubt in my mind that the team will remain a thorn in the side of any opponent for the rest of the season.
Next with Football, the team stands at 2-2 through four contests.
An overtime loss at home in week 1 to Fluvanna was followed up by a huge 21-20 win on the road against a very good Strasburg team. The win over the Rams was as good of a win that the team has had in all my five seasons with the program. We came out ready to get after it out of the gate and from the first play on, there was a different feeling in the air. The next contest was a rainy, stormy evening that resulted in a hard-fought win over Waynesboro. The elements were so bad, in fact, that the game was called with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter. Albeit physically uncomfortable with my rain-soaked clothes, I was more than thrilled to come out of the elements with a 21-6 victory.
We lost a tough one last week at home versus Fort Defiance. The team's rushing attack was too much for us to overcome in the end, losing by a final score of 28-14.
However, last Friday's home game didn’t come without any sort of positive note.
Last Friday’s game against Fort was our 4th annual Gold Out game, in honor of children battling cancer. It’s about as emotional of a night as they come. Valuable members of our community that we love so much were in attendance which made the atmosphere one that I will never forget.
Although we didn’t win on the scoreboard, we won off the field. Together through various raffles, we raised thousands of dollars to assist those fighting childhood cancer.
Getting to honor those families means the world to us, even though the fight against cancer is one like no other, the whole community is behind each and every individual who is tasked with fighting this horrible disease.
The second half of the season features the Valley District slate. A grueling six-week battle against some of the top teams in the area. The Valley District schedule features road games at Rockbridge Co. (Sept. 22), Turner Ashby (Oct 6) and East Rockingham (Oct. 27), while the team hosts Spotswood (Sept. 29–Homecoming), William Monroe (Oct. 13–Pink Out) and Harrisonburg (Nov. 3–Soldier Tribute).
With much of the Volleyball Season yet to be played and half of the Football Season remaining, be sure to get to BHS and support the Gobblers!
Gobblers fans prepare for the annual Gold Out Game on September 15, 2023.
BHS Football and Volleyball look to take the next step as both teams look to build on 2022.
by: Ben Elliott
The first year of the “Behind the Gobbler Call” blog was an overwhelming success and experience for everyone here at Gobblers Sports Network. Giving back to the community remains the number one priority and getting to bring you a different type of coverage from our various Gobblers teams was an absolute blast.
With that being said I’m proud to announce that our coverage will be expanding for the fall sports season. As you all may have seen, we’re planning on doing a 5 game “test run” for Volleyball games this fall. Jeff Elliott will handle the Play-by-Play duties for each broadcast and will be joined in the Broadcast Booth by Micah Morris.
So, without further ado, I bring to you the 2023 fall season preview!
Starting with Volleyball! In their first year under new head coach EMU legend Colton Frey, the team posted a record of 7-12 which was a steady improvement from the previous season. Out of the nine wins last season, three came against Valley District foes Harrisonburg and Rockbridge.
This year as we announced in our previous blog, we have a few new schools joining the Valley District this year, William Monroe and East Rock.
The 2023 schedule features a long list of teams that are coming off of playoff appearances. Nothing is better for your team than getting to face high level opponents throughout the year. You find out who you are very quickly so to speak. As Coach Grogg always says, “This next game will determine the rest of your season”. Which I think is relevant to any sport. Especially in a sport like Volleyball where you play a couple times a week where you don’t really have a high margin for error being in the district that we’re in.
Yet despite the hefty schedule, I have all the faith in Coach Frey and Co. The program continues to push in the right direction and before you know it, they’ll be right where they want to be, in the heart of the Valley District playoffs.
The BHS Football team opens their season at Home against Fluvanna Co on August 25. Micah Morris will handle Play-by-Play for each broadcast and will be joined by Jeff Elliott (away games) and Karl Magenhofer (home games).
We’ve opened up against Fluvanna ever since 2019 and at this point, I’m accustomed to seeing them week 1 of every season. The Flucos always bring with them a plethora of great athletes which is always something we must prepare for. The Flucos are coming off a tough season, which will give them all the motivation to come into our home and ruin our opening night. I’ve experienced seasons like that before and it isn’t fun. It makes you want to give even more than you did the year before to put a W in the win column.
Our next home game is against Fort Defiance. We lost a real close one against them last year on the road. One of those that you wish you could get back. However, there’s plenty of lessons to be learned from games like that. You can almost take more from those losses than you can for wins.
Spotswood is coming off an impressive 8-3 season. We lost a tough one on the road to them last season. Getting to play the game at home gives us a boost this time around. We had great success the last time the Blazers came to Broadway. I expect them to give us everything we can handle as usual this year. It’ll be a great matchup, definitely one you’ll want to circle on the schedule.
William Monroe reminds me of yet another tough loss we had last year. Their offense featured a very mobile QB that we didn’t have the answers for that night. We fared well against them in 2021, the last time they came to Broadway.
Lastly on the home slate is Harrisonburg for Soldier Tribute night. I don’t need to explain why this one is so important. The feeling you get while playing on that night is second to none. And getting a win the past two nights has been an unbelievable feeling. Not only do you get to put a W in the win column, but you get to do it on the most important of nights. I’ve got chills thinking about this one already and I can’t wait for this night!
The first game on the road schedule is quite the opponent. Strasburg has always provided us with a challenge the past few years we’ve been playing against one another. The defensive scheme gives you headaches and trying to account for their athleticism is a whole different story. Nevertheless, I love competing against them and I can’t wait to make the trip to Strasburg this season.
Going down to Waynesboro is one of the longer bus rides we’ll have this season. Reminds me of our last matchup down in their house in 21’. We scored in the final seconds to bring us within a win. One of the more exciting moments in my time here with the program. Yet the heroics fell just short. Our last-ditch effort for a win was stuffed and we dropped a close one on the road. Going down to Waynesboro always brings with it moments I’ll never forget. I got to dress for the first time ever in the final game of 2019 there. So one could say that game was the beginning of the story for me personally.
Speaking of long road trips, Rockbridge! The Wildcats are a tough bunch that always gives us fits every time we clash. I’ve got tough memories of our road clashes with the Wildcats but, I’m confident in the group to go and get one this year.
We make the trip to Bridgewater for our next road clash. Need I say more?
The only school on this list that I’ve never played a regular season game at is East Rock! I love traveling to new places and getting to play at a new field. Especially with the Eagles. You’ve got a team that you always know will bring the house. They made the playoffs last year and I’d expect nothing less from them this season. If our previous 7v7 matchups are any indication, we should be in for a good one in Elkton!
Overall, the atmosphere of high school sports is back once again! I’m overjoyed to bring these stories to you once again this season. I had a blast last year and can’t wait to see what this season will become!
The Valley District will look a little different to Gobblers Fans
by: Micah Morris
The sounds of students roaming the halls of Broadway High School is still weeks away. As the summer churns on, the school remains silent, except for the sounds of construction taking place as BHS undergoes an extensive renovation. But in a few short weeks, the school will once again be bustling, with the sounds of teachers and students busy with their studies and their social lives.
But things are changing at Broadway High School, and the community will soon see these changes, some of which will impact BHS Athletics.
One of the first things that fans will notice is a new concession stand and restrooms located at the stadium. Throughout Spring and Summer, the new building has risen at the south end of the football field. The new concession stand and restrooms are expected to be ready for the opening football game, when Broadway hosts Fluvanna County on August 25.
New Valley District Opponents
Broadway High School has a proud tradition in the Valley District. One of the four “long-time members” of the district, BHS joins Spotswood, Turner Ashby and Harrisonburg as the longest tenured schools in the storied district. Over the last two decades, many teams have entered and left the district for a variety of reasons. Central (Woodstock), Waynesboro and Fort Defiance are just a few of the schools that have called the Valley District home but have since moved to other districts. With the new VHSL re-alignment plan beginning this year, the former five team Valley District gets a jolt as it welcomes two new schools.
Broadway, Harrisonburg, Spotswood, Turner Ashby and Rockbridge County have made up the five-team district for the last few years, but beginning this fall, the district welcomes in East Rockingham and William Monroe, with Rocktown High School scheduled to join upon it’s opening. For the first time in over ten years, all Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Schools will be included in the same district. BHS is familiar with both East Rockingham and William Monroe, as both have been common opponents for various Gobblers sports teams over the most recent seasons.
East Rockingham High School is located in Elkton, Virginia and has most recently been a member of the Bull Run District and in Region 2B, but with the growth on the eastern end of the county, ERHS has been bumped up to Region 3C, the same Region as BHS. The Eagles have enjoyed a lot of athletic success over the past ten years, including being the home of Tyler Nickel, the leading all-time scorer in Boys Basketball history in the Virginia High School League. After graduating from ERHS, Nickel played collegiately at North Carolina and has since transferred to Virginia Tech.
William Monroe, located in Stanardsville, Virginia, will move to the Valley District after being a member of the Northwestern District. William Monroe will be one of two teams (Harrisonburg being the other) that will not be a member of Region 3C. Instead, the Green Dragons will be members of Region 3B. William Monroe has been a common opponent on the gridiron for BHS over the last several years, but the two schools will compete as district foes for the first time. William Monroe, has a history of success in athletics as well, most recently sending Girls Basketball Player Samantha Brunelle to Women’s Basketball power Notre Dame after she finished a wildly successful career at WMHS. Brunelle has since transferred to the University of Virginia, where she is currently a member of the Cavaliers Women’s Basketball team.
Rocktown High School, the much anticipated and much discussed new high school in Harrisonburg, will join the Valley District upon completion of the construction and opening of the school. Rocktown will be known as the Raptors.
A Big Thank You!
Another change that will take place at BHS for the upcoming year will be a new leader at the school. Longtime Principal, Donna Abernathy, accepted the position of Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Learning with Rockingham County Public Schools, a position which she began in early July. We have very much enjoyed working with Mrs. Abernathy over the last nine years and will miss seeing her around BHS. She has always been very welcoming and supportive of the Gobblers Sports Network. We would like to Say a Big Thank You to her and wish Mrs. Abernathy well in her new position within RCPS.
As Ben wrote last month, there are so many Thank you’s to go around. It’s important to recognize that the Gobblers Sports Network is lucky to have incredible relationships with BHS Administration and Coaches. We would like to Thank BHS Athletic Director, Ryan Ritter for his unwavering support over the last nine years and for being so accommodating for us for all the sports we cover. We would also like to thank the BHS Coaches, especially Danny Grogg (Football), Dwight Walton (Boys Basketball), Jeremy Fulk (Girls Basketball), George Laase (Baseball) and Becky Cantrell (Softball) for allowing the Gobblers Sports Network to be part of their teams.
Exciting things are on the horizon for BHS Athletics and the Gobblers Sports Network. With Fall Sports around the corner, be on the lookout for Ben Elliott’s fall sports preview!
By: Ben Elliott
The 2023 Spring Season wraps up with a laundry list of "Thank You's" and awards.
I’d say the first year of the “Behind the Gobbler Call” blog was an overwhelming success. Getting to tell even more stories about the teams we cover here at BHS was a tremendous honor. And it also helped that we had multiple teams that participated in the VHSL playoffs.
It was a tremendous year all around for us here at Gobblers Sports Network once again. Filled with preseason coaches chats, broadcasts and of course blogs. Getting to work with Micah has been a tremendous honor. Undoubtedly the hardest working man in show business. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give my father, one Jeff Elliott, a shout out. Getting to work with him on this network is the greatest feeling ever.
Sappy thank you’s aside, let's do one final recap for the 2022-23 Softball and Baseball seasons.
As of the last writing, each program was headed into playoff tilts. The baseball boys won a home playoff game over rival Spotswood- which I must admit was a thrilling victory. The Blazers are well coached and are always tough year in and out, so to beat them in a playoff game is a huge accomplishment. The baseball season ended with a road loss to LCA the following week. It was an outstanding year for first year head coach George Laase. He’s an unbelievable dude who’s put together a great staff to lead their players to success.
Winning a playoff game in your first season at a new school is one heck of a way to make a first impression. The boys were a joy to watch this season and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!
The Softball Lady Gobblers were out of this world this season. The team made it back to the VHSL Class 3 State Tournament for the first time since 2017 with a lifetime of moments made along the way. After beating Fort Defiance in the Region 3C Quarterfinals, the Gobblers outlasted Liberty-Bedford in the Semifinals to reach the State Tournament. The Gobblers would fall to Rustburg in the Region Finals before facing Cave Spring in the State Quarterfinals in Roanoke. The Softball season would come to an end against an upper class loaded team in Cave Spring. Another shout out to head coach Becky Cantrell, who continues to be a great veteran mind that leads some awesome kids. For the accomplishments of the Softball Team this season, Coach Cantrell was tabbed the Valley District Coach of the Year by her fellow district coaches.
Speaking of awesome kids, each squad filled up the voting ballots for the Valley District and Region teams.
Starting with softball… Two Gobblers, Freshman Lilah Deavers (Pitcher) and Junior Jasmine Gett (Outfield) were named to the Valley District First Team, while Sophomores Emma Morris (Pitcher) and Brooklyn Spitzer (Shortstop), as well as Seniors Jacklyn Williams (Second Base) and Serenity King (Utility) were named to the Valley District Second Team.
The Region Honors rolled in for the Gobblers Softball Team as well. Jasmine Gett (Outfield) and Lilah Deavers (Pitcher) were named to the All-Region First Team, while Junior Taylor Suters (At Large) was named to the All-Region Second Team.
The Gobblers Softball Team was also represented when it came to All-State selections. Freshman Lilah Deavers (Pitcher) and Junior Jasmine Gett (Outfield) were selected to the VHSL Class 3 All-State Second Team for their great play throughout the season.
Honors for the Baseball Team rolled in as well for the performance of the Gobblers throughout the regular season and postseason. Junior Mason Lynn (Pitcher), Sophomore Sy Crider (Catcher), Junior Bransen Hensley (Shortstop) and Senior Hunter Deavers (Outfield) were tabbed with All-District First Team Honors. Junior Conner Michael (Second Base) and Senior Isaac Wouters (First Base) were named to the All-District Second Team.
The Gobblers were also well represented on the All Region 3C Teams, with Sy Crider (Catcher), Isaac Wouters (First Base) and Bransen Hensley (Shortstop) were named to the All-Region First Team, while Conner Michael (Second Base), Hunter Deavers (Outfield) and Mason Lynn (Pitcher) were named to the All-Region Second Team.
The Baseball Honors didn’t end there. Junior Shortstop Bransen Hensley was named to the VHSL Class 3 All-State Second Team after hitting .440 with five doubles, four triples, one homerun and 24 RBIs to go along with 27 Stolen Bases. Hensley becomes the Gobblers first All-State Baseball selection Bryce Turner and Bryce Suters in 2019.
Congratulations to each athlete for your tremendous seasons this year. Getting recognition from coaches around the Valley and Region is a huge deal. Each one of you deserves it! And most importantly congratulations to each and every senior for your success at BHS over the course of your respective careers. Leaving high school may seem scary at first but, trust me, your journey has just begun.
Thank YOU, the loyal readers who make all of the good and bad times worth it. Your support keeps us going, it’s why we coach. We do it for the community we love most. Thank you all for everything, talk to you guys very very soon!
After solid regular seasons, the BHS Softball & Baseball teams enter the playoffs looking for deep runs.
By: Ben Elliott
This season, my favorite sports team in the entire universe, the NHL’s Boston Bruins broke all sorts of wins records for the regular season, which left me admittedly feeling a little cocky about their chances at winning a Stanley Cup.
Fast forward to the first round against the Florida Panthers and the B’s held a 3-1 lead, what followed was the most painful fan experience of my entire life.
The B’s blew a 3-1 lead and were eliminated in the first round after the best year in the sport’s over 100 year history.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Ben, what does this have to do with Broadway softball/baseball?”. The answer is simple. Winning at any level is extremely difficult, no matter what you do in the regular season. You could light the world on fire for the entire regular season, you might even set a record for most wins in a season for a sport played on frozen water, only to blow a 3-1 series lead to the lowest seeded team that barely made it to the playoffs.
That leads us to the present day, both BHS teams have handled their business on the diamond all season long which has earned both squads a chance at the glory my Bruins couldn’t achieve.
Our regular season/pre-playoff recap begins with your Lady Gobblers!
The team had an absolutely blistering regular season on the diamond. They finish the 2023 regular season with a 15-5 record which is a drastic improvement over the previous regular season, which as a coach that’s all you can ask out of your team. To improve each and every day and leave things better than you found it before, which is why the team sees such a great opportunity in front of them. By far the most impressive statistic was the team’s 6-2 Valley District record.
As you all know, the Valley District in every sport is extremely competitive. Over my years I’ve learned that you surely can’t take any of our fellow district teams lightly, which is what makes this record so impressive.
The team went 2-0 versus Harrisonburg, Rockbridge and Spotswood. The only team that gave the Lady Gobblers any trouble was Turner Ashby. The team lost both regular season games with one being very close. The Gobblers also suffered a setback in the Valley District Plus-One game, losing at Turner Ashby 11-3. Broadway will be the #3 seed in the Region 3C Tournament, and will host #6 Fort Defiance in the Quarterfinals on May 26.
The regular season’s Out of District record was a blazing 9-3. Those ten games featured wins over Wilson Memorial, Skyline, Fluvanna, Fort Defiance, Brookville and future Valley District member East Rockingham. The three losses in non-District play came by only 5 runs or less.
It’s been such an enjoyable ride this season following the Lady Gobblers. I enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful pitching performances and Home Runs hit. It was a tremendous regular season and I’m fully confident that the team is primed for a great postseason run.
The Baseball boys, just like their softball counterparts, played a 20-game schedule comprised of Valley District opponents and non-district opponents. The team finished the year with a 12-8 record overall and a 5-3 record in Valley District play.
Starting with Valley District play, the team finished with a record of 5-3, which featured a gauntlet of opponents.
The team saw wins over Turner Ashby, Rockbridge, Harrisonburg and Spotswood.
These games played in district were often close games that came down to the final inning, it’s a further indication that our district is in good hands once again, full of tremendous talent that will continue to compete against one another for years to come. Speaking of competing, the Gobblers won a game against each of their Valley District opponents, which spells great for the playoffs considering there’s a high likelihood that we’ll see some of these opponents again. It gives you great confidence that you’re able to outlast whichever team you might draw in postseason play.
The out-of-district record stood at 7-5, with the team racking up wins over Fluvanna, Fort Defiance, Wilson Memorial, Skyline, East Rockingham and Rappahannock Co.
Which means they secured at least one win against every team on their schedule. Which is an impressive portfolio to have headed into postseason play.
After falling to Spotswood 6-3 in the Valley District Plus-One Game on May 18, the Gobblers now turn their attention to the upcoming Region 3C Tournament where they will be the #4 seed and will host #5 seed Spotswood in the Region 3C Quarterfinals on May 26. The meeting marks the fourth meeting of the season between the Gobblers and Blazers.
This season was an impressive success for each team, which is attested to the coaching jobs that each staff put forward this spring. It was surely a pleasure covering each squad during the regular season, I wish both teams the best of luck during the playoffs and I’m looking forward to talking with you all once more for our playoff recap!
BHS Senior Drew Spiggle throws out the first pitch on Senior Night at BHS. Spiggle missed the entire 2023 season due to injury.
by: Micah Morris with Ally Repko
From 2013-2017 the name Ally Repko was synonymous with Broadway Athletics. A multi-sport athlete, Repko quickly earned the reputation of being a difference maker both on the basketball court and the softball field. By the time her career at BHS ended, Repko had helped guide the BHS Girls Basketball Team to the 2016-2017 State Championship and she would have her named placed in the BHS Record Book as one of the most prolific power hitters in BHS Softball history.
After hitting 35 career Home Runs for the BHS Softball team, a Broadway High School record, Ally continued her playing career at Elon University where she was named a member of the CAA All-Rookie team in 2018, her stellar career continued as she was named to the All CAA First-Team and the CAA All-Tournament Team in 2021. In 2022, Ally transferred to Virginia Tech, playing on the Hokies team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Since graduation, the lure of the softball field has continued to call Ally, as she is now an Assistant Coach for UVA-Wise.
Recently, Ally took some time to look back at her BHS days and how her time in Broadway helped influence her journey since leaving the Broadway Community.
Gobblers Sports Network: Since you graduated from Broadway High School, where has your life taken you?
Ally: “After graduating from Broadway High School, I continued my softball career at Elon University in North Carolina. I graduated from Elon with a degree in Marketing and a Sport and Event Management minor. As a result from Covid, I was granted an extra year of eligibility and decided to use that year at Virginia Tech and start my masters in Information Technology. I was super blessed to be able to join that program after their deep post-season run in 2021. During my time at Virginia Tech, not only did I get to be a part of a team with high success, I made incredible connections and memories that gave me a sweet ending to my softball career."
Gobblers Sports Network: When you were at Elon and playing in the CAA and you got the chance to “come home” and play at JMU, how much fun was that for you?
Ally: “At the start of every season, the first thing I would look for was the JMU series and where it was going to be played at. Getting to play so close to family and the Broadway community meant everything to me. Not only did I have my family and friends there supporting me, but so many members of the Broadway and Rockingham County community would show out to those games. When Carley Davis joined the program, a Turner Ashby Alum, that meant even more local support would be at those games and it was always a special moment for us. Coach Bo is also a Turner Ashby Alum and would always make sure we took many trips to Kline’s during our stay. Weeks leading up to the series, we would check what flavors they would have those days we were visiting.”
Gobblers Sports Network: After a college softball career at Elon and Virginia Tech, you are now an assistant at UVA-Wise. What made you want to get into coaching?
Ally: “While living in Blacksburg, I was able to take advantage of the new NIL deals and was connected with a travel organization in Roanoke. They allowed me to use their facility to give hitting lessons to local players that ages ranged from 10-17. As the weeks went on, I found a passion in the player development from working with these girls. I loved talking the game with them and looking at it as a puzzle to find what will work for each hitter. Following my season at Virginia Tech, Coach Pete asked if I had any interest in coaching, which led to him connecting me with other coaches and schools that needed an assistant coach. I am very happy that I found UVA-Wise and that they took a chance on a player fresh out of the game to help their program. At Wise, I am in charge of defense and have enjoyed working through drills with the team.”
Gobblers Sports Network: How difficult was the transition of playing high School softball to playing major college softball?
Ally: “The biggest difference between high school softball and college softball is the workload balance. You are managing harder classes, more homework, study hall, travel days and finding internships and jobs. On top of tougher lifts and conditioning, longer practices, extra work, film and a longer season. College softball is a business, and the best person plays the position so there is a constant competition to earn playing time. When you are able to figure out what techniques work for you to be able to balance this schedule and stress management, playing softball becomes fun again. It took me a little while to find what worked for me, but when I did I remembered why I love the sport of softball and how much fun it is to play.”
Gobblers Sports Network: You were part of the first State Championship at BHS (Girls Basketball). Looking back now, how much does that mean to you?
Ally: “March 10th, 2017 will always be a special day for my family and I. It was not only the date we won our high school’s first state championship, but it was the date I played my last basketball game. Basketball has always meant so much to my character as an athlete and a person. I knew my last game would eventually come but I couldn’t be happier with the story that team told. We knew winning states that year was going to be something special. Anyone can leave their high school saying they were state champs but only 1 team can say they were the first for their high school. Being able to say that is very special to us and we carry that award with pride for our school. After almost 6 years later, I still don’t think I’ve let it sink in all we accomplished that season.”
Gobblers Sports Network: What were some of your favorite memories while playing for the Gobblers?
Ally: “Two games that stand out the most to me during my career at Broadway is the home games against Spotswood and Lord Botetourt. I remember not being able to hear the other players on the court because the fans were so loud! Those were 2 huge games on our schedule that year and the fans did not disappoint with attendance.
All of my favorite memories include Coach [Marlin] Fulk and the imprint he left on all of his players. He was your best friend when you needed a shoulder and hard on you when you needed to be pushed. I looked forward to coming to practice every day to hear him ask, “Little Spitzer, how was your day?”. I couldn’t imagine making any of our deep season runs without him.”
Gobblers Sports Network: The Broadway community is a special, tight knit community. Talk about how much playing in the community meant to you.
Ally: “I am super proud of my roots. The Broadway Community would show nothing but unconditional love and support to all Gobblers. Most games I wanted to walk out and just hug my family, but it was almost impossible. There was always so many fans that aren’t related to you and you might not even know that are waiting for us right outside the locker room to say they are proud of each of us no matter the result of the game. We didn’t only have a lot of fans at home games, but away games too. Gobbler Nation made VCU feel like a home court and very few teams are able to say that.”
Gobblers Sports Network: If you could go back and tell your high school self something, what would it be?
Ally: “If I could go back and tell my high school self something, it would be that the world is not against you. I always listened to my critiques more than I did my fans and took a lot of things personally. I felt like that was my motive for rushing my last moments of high school to get to the college level. If I could go back, I would surround myself with more positivity so that the negativity wouldn’t be as loud. I would embrace the support from the community more because most of them always had faith in me and still do.
I would also tell my high school self to listen to all the clichés people tell you about playing sports and soaking in all the memories because they are right. Sports are a game just like Candy Land and you’re meant to have fun playing them. Enjoy every team meal, bus ride, practice and game because years later you’ll look back and realize how much you miss it and you can’t get those days back.”
Gobblers Sports Network: What would you tell the young athletes, especially young girls, who want to succeed in high school sports?
Ally: “If you want to be successful in high school sports you need to play for the pride in your school. Many athletes these days want to go to other high schools because they are more successful in their sport. Playing for the high school where you and your family grew up should be something special. Growing up and playing at Broadway taught me to have school pride and to be proud to be a Gobbler.
If you want to be successful at the next level, you have to be obsessed with getting better and the process of growth. Be excited to go to practice and get 1% better. Be excited to put in extra work at night or on you off days. This obsession will allow you to grow faster through the highs and lows that your career will take you through."
Gobblers Sports Network: What message would you have for the current athletes at BHS?
Ally: “Be proud to be a Broadway Gobbler! We are known for our blue-collar personalities and our “Special Brand”. We don’t have to be like the surrounding schools to be successful and win championships. We are able to be true to ourselves and play for a town that we and many of our family members grew up in.”
Thank you to Ally Repko for taking some time to talk about her BHS days and allowing us to catch up with her. Ally will forever be one of my favorite Gobblers. Her left handed swing was a thing of beauty. To this day, I have not seen a more feared hitter in high school softball. In reading some of Ally's responses, I have gotten the chance to remember the 2017 Girls Basketball season, and the remarkable run to the State Championship. One thing is for certain, Ally Repko left her mark at BHS, and I am fairly confident that BHS and the Broadway Community left their mark on Ally Repko.