A new chapter in the history of Rappahannock High School’s athletics department began last Friday under the field lights in Warsaw.
On Oct. 18, 10 graduates and two administrators from the high school in Warsaw became the first set of members inducted into the Hall of Fame. From competitive sports to the administration, organizers spared no expense to recognize the inductees.
Retired coach, principal and superintendent Fred Pitman highlights the inductees along with the first school division superintendent, the late Jim Stover.
Pitman, who started the first football team in 1964, said he was proud to accept the school division’s responsibility following Stover’s retirement.
“I inherited a well run division and did my best to keep the ship afloat and on a positive course,” Pitman said. “I was very fortunate to have been involved for 30 years in an excellent school system. It was very good to me and I worked hard to make it a special system that the parents and students could be proud of.”
School board member Ken Blackley said during the announcement back in June that he wanted to bring back the old Raider spirit that he came to know. Blackley said those that are considered by the induction board have been out of high school for 25 years or more.
The 10 individuals that were also named on Friday evening included Brian Wilkins (1982), Stanley Sanders (1969), Nancy Wilson (1977), Erica Carey (1982), Danny Pierson (1976), Jack Walker (1981), Sally Smith (1974), Susan Powell Headley (1976), Otis Jackson (1976) and Rolando “Rocky” Newton (1974).
James “Smokey” Stover, after an illustrious career as a coach of Caroline and Culpeper, came to Rappahannock as its first Principal. Five years later he became the first full time Superintendent of Richmond County Schools. Stover was dedicated to the athletic department at Rappahannock and brought a wealth of knowledge of Virginia High School League to the Northern Neck District. Stover was inducted in VHSL Hall of Fame in 1993. Represented tonight by his wife, Jane Stover, and daughter Jan Miller.
Fred Pitman, after an outstanding athletic career at Northumberland High School and Lynchburg College, became the first coach at Rappahannock. His 1968 football team was the first district champions for Rappahannock. Pitman became Principal of RHS in 1969 and in 1989 he became the Superintendent of Richmond County Schools.
Sallie Smith Twentyman, a 1974 graduate of RHS, was the player who led the Raiders girls from the half court game to the full court game. Smith was the leading scorer for two years averaging 20 pts. a game and leading the Raiders to the VHSL sectionals, where they had to play bigger schools as there were no single A girls tournaments until 1975.
Stanley Sanders, a 1970 graduate of RHS, was “the man” on the undefeated football team of 1968. Sanders was the first athlete from Rappahannock to make All-State in any sport. In 1968, the All-State team was all classes not just single A. Sanders was big, strong, and quick all attributes of an outstanding defensive lineman.
Susan “Toolie” Powell, a 1976 graduate, was an outstanding athlete in basketball, softball and track. Powell was All-District in basketball and captain of the district champion girls track team. Powell led the Raiders to the playoffs her last three years in girls basketball. As good as she was as a player, she was even better as a competitor. She had one attribute all the good ones have, she hated second place.
Brian Wilkins, a 1982 graduate, was RHS first two-sport All-State in football and baseball. He was on the state runner-up baseball team in 1981. Wilkins played in the 1982 VHSL coaches’ association all-star game at VPI. Wilkins played the game the right way with hustle and tenacity. He was a winner. He was Channel 8 player of the week in football in 1981 as he dominated on defense in a big upset of Caroline High School.
Erica Carey, class of 1982, was a four-year starter on the girls basketball team. Erica made All District three years and was All-Region A for two years. Carey was the first female at Rappahannock to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Carey was also a member of the track team. She was an outstanding player, but better then that she was an outstanding person.
Nancy K. Wilson, class of 1977, was quick, smart and aggressive. Wilson was a leader of the girls’ basketball district champion team in 1975 and 1976. Wilson was an awesome shortstop in softball and in track she was RHS leading scorer in the 220-yard dash and long jump. The long jump was her specialty as she won regionals and was state runner up. Wilson still ranks as one of the all time great female athletes at RHS.
Danny Pierson, class of 1976, was an outstanding three-sport athlete staring in baseball, basketball and football. Pierson is best known for baseball, where he led the Raiders to their first state trip, losing in the semi-finals. Pierson was All-District in football. He was our first player named to the high school All-Star game and was the first baseball player name all state.
Rolando “Rocky” Newton, class of 1974, was leader of the Raiders first district champion basketball team. Newton was a shooter and the closer the game the better he played. He was the first Raider guy to score 1,000 points in his career. Newton was also outstanding in track excelling in sprints and jumps. Newton was All-District twice and All-Region A once in his outstanding career.
Jack Walker, class of 1981, was an outstanding baseball and basketball player. Walker was All-District and All-Region A twice in basketball. Walker was a three-time All-District player, two-time All-Region A player and an All-State player in baseball. Walker was player of the year in district and region A in baseball. He went to Randolph-Macon where he was a four-year starter in baseball and named to their hall of fame in 2013.
Otis Jackson, class of 1976, was one of the all time great athletes in track, basketball and baseball. Jackson is a State Champion state record holder in track. He was on the Raiders first district champion basketball team and also on the Raiders first district baseball champion team. Jackson was the leading point man for the Raiders first state championship in track. Jackson went on to Ferrum College and played basketball and track.