September 29, 2023 FUMA Athletics Newsletter

The Blue Devil Report from Fork Union Military Academy's Athletic Department is your source for weekly updates on the Fork Union Blue Devils. Here's the latest from @FUMAathletics.

Want to view past issues of the Blue Devil Report? Find them all on our website.


  • Board of Trustee Member Eddie George '91 Nominated for NFL Hall of Fame
  • Coaches Spotlight: Austin Benda
  • FUMA Athletics Recap
  • Feature Stories: Cross Country & PG Football
  • Up Next in FUMA Athletics
  • Alumnus Mathias Bertram Named to Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
  • Save the Date: Day of Giving
  • Photos: Prep Football vs. Saint Anne's Belfield

Board of Trustee Member Eddie George '91 Nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Tennessee Titan and a member of the Academy's Board of Trustees Eddie George has been nominated for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. The 1991 alumnus is one of 33 running backs to be nominated.

The list of Modern-Era Nominees will be reduced to 25 Semifinalists in November.

The 2024 HOF class will be enshrined in August 2024.

L: George's Fork Union Yearbook Photo | R: George with his Tennessee State University football team.

George is the current head coach of the Tennessee State University football program. The Tigers sit 2-1 on the early season and are set to face UT Martin on Saturday, September 30 at 6 p.m.

This past August, George was awarded the 2023 Neighborhood Heroes Award by Bristol Motor Speedway. George, who enters his third season as TSU's head coach was presented with a $1,000 check and a plaque from Jerry Caldwell, the general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway that will go towards his Legacy Fund and the TSU Athletic Fund.

The award, which was created in 2018 recognizes first responders, military members, and others in Tennessee who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their professions to make a significant impact in the lives of others in their communities.

"For the award to be around since 2018 and to be recognized in this capacity is great," stated George. "I came in with the intention to transform lives and shape these young men's lives through the prism of football so they can be productive citizens, but also realize their purpose after the game."

"So often I see athletes, high school, college, and professional athletes leave the game with no guidance and that's something I went through as an athlete, leaving the game earlier than I would have liked to," George relayed. "I just want to provide for them the guiding light to put seeds for them to understand that we're not here just to play football, but through football give back in a greater way, and all that you aspire and dream about will come to fruition at its proper time."

A few of the previous winners of the award include the Nolensville Little League All-Star team in 2022, and Hampton Valley Forge firefighter Chris Russell in 2019.

Get to Know Junior Prep Soccer Coach Austin Benda

Austin Benda | Hired August of 2023

Fork Union Military Academy named Austin Benda as the head Junior Prep soccer coach this past August.

Get to know Coach Benda:

College Attended & Degree: Virginia Military Institute - B.A. English & Liberty University - M.Ed. Teacher & Learning - History

Did you play a sport in college, if so what sport? Yes, baseball.

Describe your current role at the Academy: I am a History and English Instructor and coach soccer and baseball.

What brought you to Fork Union Military Academy? The school's mission and the all-inclusive style of education: Mind, Body & Spirit.

What made you want to become a coach? I love competition and helping young people reach their full potential. I wanted to make a lasting and positive impact on people.

What is your favorite topic/drill to teach your athletes during practice? Mindset - Communication - Control the Controllable.

What makes Fork Union special to you? I understand what our student athletes are experiencing having played NCAA baseball at a military school myself. Mind, Body & Spirit.

Scores from the past two weeks:

Friday, September 15

  • Prep Soccer vs. Hargrave Military Academy • L, 4-5

Saturday, September 16

  • Cross Country vs. The Invitational at Fork Union • 17th

Sunday, September 17

  • PG Football at Bridgewater College • W, 7-6

Tuesday, September 19

  • Junior Prep Soccer vs. Miller School • L, 1-10
  • Prep Soccer at Benedictine College Prep • L, 0-9

Wednesday, September 20

  • Junior Prep Football vs. Collegiate School • L, 12-29

Thursday, September 21

  • Junior Prep Soccer at Veritas School • L, 0-7

Friday, September 22

  • PG Football at Wagner College • W, 21-14
  • Prep Football at Collegiate School • L, 27-48
  • Cross Country at Woodberry Forest School • 14th
  • Prep Soccer at Highland School • L, 0-12

Monday, September 25

  • Junior Prep Football vs. Trinity Episcopal School • L, 24-53

Tuesday, September 26

  • Junior Prep Soccer at Fishburne Military School • L, 2-6

Wednesday, September 27

  • Prep Soccer vs. Trinity Episcopal School • L, 0-8
  • Cross Country vs. James River Challenge • 2nd/7 Teams

Thursday, September 28

  • Junior Prep Football at Norfolk Academy • L, 6-47
  • Junior Prep Soccer vs. North Cross School • L, 1-9

Fork Union Welcomes 45 Schools for the 26th Annual Fork Union Invitational

Saturday, September 16, 2023

FORK UNION, VA – The Fork Union Military Academy cross country program welcomed 45 schools to the Fred Hardy Cross Country Course for the 26th annual Fork Union Invitational this past Saturday.

The Blue Devils placed 17th overall in the Colonial Division and fourth in the Sabre Division.

"The 26th annual Invitational at Fork Union was highly successful for us considering the challenges we faced from the Fork Union Day in town," said head coach Winston Brown. "As a team, I thought David Eaton was big time, finishing 13th in the Colonial Division. A little more confidence from a pack down the line will certainly bump us up further as the season progresses. I want to thank our entire school for the work put into this meet. It was a great day."

Freshman David Eaton led the way for the Blue Devils, clocking in at the 17:05.00 mark to place 13th overall in the Colonial Division. He was the second freshman to cross the finish line.

Nicholas Coleman was the next Blue Devil to finish, placing 81st with a time of 18:46.9, followed by Robert Callahan at 82nd with a time of 18:50.00. Benjamin Burtram took 119th with a time of 20:02.90 and Ronan Montes placed 123rd with a time of 20:09.3. Overall, there were 159 participants.

In the Sabre Division, which was a two-mile run, freshman Kenneth Radtke placed 12th with a time of 12:29.1. James Hu followed in 23rd with a time of 13:57.2, while Ethan Schroyer came in at 28th with a time of 14:25.5.

Nehemiah Mayuga, Kadin Busser, Jayden Ginty and Josh McGuire all crossed the finish line together, placing 31st through 34th, respectively. Jayden Anderson rounded out the pack for Fork Union, placing 45th.

For the complete results, click here.

Fork Union Defeats Bridgewater College, 7-6

Sunday, September 17, 2023

BRIDGEWATER, VA – The Fork Union Military Academy Postgraduate football team rallied for a 7-6 win at Bridgewater College Sunday at Jopson Field.

The win lifted the Blue Devils to 2-2 overall.

"It was another close game at Bridgewater College," said head coach Frank Arritt. "The defense continues to improve. Jahiel Mitchell and Asa Locks each had an interception. Omari Muhammad-Wyatt had several good plays at linebacker. Offensively, we had a slow start, but we did put together some good drives, ending out last drive with a touchdown pass from Nehemiah Vann to Ty Smothers. We are looking for continued improvements this coming week."

The Blue Devil defense continues to hold strong on the early season, holding its opponents to just one touchdown in back-to-back games. Against the Eagles, Asa Locks sparked momentum with an early interception which marks his third in four games. Jahiel Mitchell picked up Fork Union's final interception of the day, late in the fourth that prevented a score.

Offensively, Fork Union scored first when Nehemiah Vann found Ty Smothers in the endzone on a 25-yard pass late in the fourth quarter.

With 20 seconds left in the game, Bridgewater desperately drives down field and eventually scored on a jump ball in the endzone to make it a 7-6 ballgame. The Eagles failed the two-point conversion attempt when Omari Muhammad-Wyatt stopped the run to secure the win.

The Blue Devils returned to action Friday, Sept 22 when they traveled to Wagner College for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Continue reading below.

PG Football's Weekly Recap - Week 4

Each week, assistant postgraduate football coach Chip Chace recaps the team's week with a special spotlight. To view this past recaps, please click the link below:

Fork Union Defeats Wagner College, 21-14, on the Road

Friday, September 22, 2023

STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Fork Union Military Academy Postgraduate football team defeated Wagner College, 21-14, this past Friday at the Wagner College Stadium.

The win lifted the Blue Devils to 3-2 overall.

"It was a great trip to Staten Island to face Wagner College this past Friday," said head coach Winston Brown. "The team is getting better each week. Offensively, we were very successful, scoring twice with a two-point conversion. The defense had some big plays as well. Isaac Rivera had a big hit that caused a fumble that Breon Gunnell recovered and found the endzone. Omari Muhammad-Wyatt and DaRon Wilson grabbed interceptions. Overall, it was a solid performance from our offense, defense and special teams."

Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Andre Harrison and Isaiah Diggs who both found the endzone. Harrison rushed for six, while Diggs grabbed a reception. Breon Gunnell also helped the Blue Devil offense with a successful two-point conversion.

Defensively, Fork Union recorded some key stops. After a huge hit from Isaac Rivera that caused a fumble, Gunnell recovered and took it to the endzone for a score. DaRon Wilson recorded a late interception that eventually secured the win for the Blue Devils.

The squad returns to action when they travel to Sacred Heart University Sunday, Oct. 1 for a 1 p.m. kickoff. Click here for the travel itinerary.

PG Football's Weekly Recap - Week 5

Each week, assistant postgraduate football coach Chip Chace recaps the team's week with a special spotlight. To view this past recaps, please click the link below:

Fork Union Places Second at the James River Challenge

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

FORK UNION, VA – The Fork Union Military Academy cross country program placed second overall at the James River Challenge, a meet hosted by the Academy every year at the Fred Hardy Cross Country Course Wednesday afternoon.

The Blue Devils tallied 49 points to place runner-up, while Glen Allen High School took the top spot with 18 points overall. Randolph-Henry placed third (94), Buckingham County took fourth (118), Nottoway took fifth (142), Amelia County placed sixth (147) and The Light Academy placed seventh (202).

"It was a great day at the Fred Hardy Cross Country Course," said head coach Winston Brown. "Our team put up a great fight against a tremendous team in Glen Allen. David Eaton got out extremely fast which will serve him well at the end of the year. From 2-5 for us was also strong. Callahan, Coleman and Burtram are as much as two-minutes faster than last year. Don't be surprised if freshman Ronan Montes joins the pack real soon. Our newcomers also made a big jump this week as did seniors Jaydn Pieron and Jayden Ginty. Malachi Walsh seems to be getting better every race."

Freshman David Eaton led the way for Fork Union, placing third overall with a time of 17:10.16. Robert Callahan followed in seventh with a time of 18:44.13. Nicholas Coleman took 10th with a time of 19:12.40.

Benjamin Burtram and Ronan Montes rounded out the top-20 for the Blue Devils, placing 15th (19:46.84) and 18th (20:05.06), respectively. Malachi Walsh just missed the top-20 by 20 seconds, coming in at 20:52.52 to place 21st.

Jaydn Pieron and Kenneth Radtke placed in the top-30. Pieron placed 25th with a time of 21:11.14, while Radtke crossed the finish line a second later to place 26th.

Seventeen other Blue Devils competed for Fork Union.

The squad will return to action when they host the Virginia Middle School Invitational Friday, September 29 at 4 p.m.

Mathias Bertram Named to Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Mathias Bertram is a 2019 alumnus from Albuquerque, New Mexico who played on head coach Frank Arritt's first postgraduate football team.

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho football captain and junior linebacker Mathias Bertram was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the organization announced Tuesday. Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) recognized 22 student-athletes football and one head coach from all of college football for exemplary community impact by naming them to the team.

The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team was established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. The AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate worked to present the award starting with the 2008 season.

Bertram has looked for service opportunities since early on in his life, working to provide meals in homeless shelters. This summer, he went on a week long mission trip to Peru and serves as the Vice President of Vandal Catholic at U of I.

His biggest personal cause is Peter's Paycheck, a non-profit that he is working with his mother to get off the ground. Peter's paycheck is dedicated to showing the true potential of adults with developmental disabilities in the workplace. The non-profit's goal is to advance their dignity, equality, and self-determination.

Bertram is the first Vandal to earn the honor and the only Big Sky athlete on the list this season.

Bertram leads not only in service, but also on the field. This season, he has seen success leading the defense with 13 tackles in two games. He is tied for first on the squad with six solo tackles and leads with seven assists. He also has a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss in just two games, good enough for 17th in the FCS.

The redshirt junior looks to continue impacting Idaho on the field and the in community in his free time. He will attend the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to be honored and receives an NIL deal through Allstate.

Fans can vote for Bertram to be named the team captain at espn.com/allstate.

Please make sure you continue to check the athletic website on a weekly basis, for all game updates.

If you haven't already, please download the Fork Union Athletics Mobile App for all game day information right at your fingertips!

Up Next in FUMA Athletics:

Friday, September 29

  • Prep Soccer at Saint Anne's Belfield • 4:00 PM
  • Cross Country vs. Virginia Middle School Invitational • 4:00 PM
  • Prep Football vs. Norfolk Academy • 4:00 PM

Sunday, October 1

  • PG Football at Sacred Heart University • 1:00 PM

Tuesday, October 3

  • Prep Soccer vs. Woodberry Forest School • 4:30 PM

Thursday, October 5

  • Junior Prep Football vs. St. Christopher's School • 4:00 PM
  • Junior Prep Soccer vs. Eastern Mennonite School • 4:00 PM

Friday, October 6

  • Prep Soccer vs. Randolph-Macon Academy • Canceled

Saturday, October 7

  • PG Basketball at Prep/JUCO Jamboree • TBA
  • Swimming & Diving at SRVA Blastoff (USA Swimming) • 8:00 AM
  • Prep Football at St. Christopher's School • 2:30 PM
  • Cross Country at Hagan Stone XC Classic • 3:00 PM

Sunday, October 8

  • PG Football at Wagner College • 1:00 PM

Command Sergeant Major Glenn Sidwell Honored with Endowed Leadership Scholarship at Fork Union Military Academy

Command Sergeant Major Glenn Sidwell has dedicated a remarkable six decades of his life to serving his country and mentoring young men. His unwavering commitment began in November of 1959 when he enlisted in the United States Army, and it continues today as he prepares to embark on his 35th year in the Commandant’s Department at Fork Union Military Academy.

In recognition of CSM Sidwell's lifetime of selfless dedication, former cadet Peter W. Congdon and his father, John R. Congdon, Jr., have established the Command Sergeant Major Glenn Sidwell Endowed Leadership Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship will provide crucial tuition support for returning members of the Corps of Cadets who exemplify a profound commitment to the art and science of servant-style leadership, a core value taught at the Academy.

A native of West Virginia, CSM Sidwell's illustrious military career included extended tours of duty in Vietnam, where he served in historic units like Golf Company, 75th Rangers, and the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He also served with distinction on stateside assignments, including two tours with the Third United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), where he earned the esteemed title of Distinguished Member of the Regiment in June 1998.

CSM Sidwell's valor and dedication to duty have been recognized with numerous commendations for valor, as well as two Purple Hearts. He proudly wears the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Ranger Tab, showcasing his expertise and commitment. Additionally, he holds multiple master’s degrees, underscoring his commitment to lifelong learning.

To launch this remarkable scholarship, the Congdon family has not only made a substantial initial contribution but has also pledged to match dollar-for-dollar all donations received for the fund before July 1, 2024, up to $100,000. Furthermore, should the Academy raise $100,000 during this period, the Congdon family will generously add an additional $50,000 to the fund.

We cordially invite you to join us in this meaningful endeavor that not only pays tribute to a distinguished American and a beloved institution at Fork Union Military Academy but also provides invaluable financial support to exceptional young men who may otherwise be unable to return to the Academy. The Congdon family's matching pledge effectively doubles the impact of every donation, honoring a man who has served as a mentor, role model, and motivator to generations of cadets and a friend and inspiration to countless faculty and staff members.

As CSM Sidwell has given selflessly to us, let us now rally together to give back to the Academy he has served with such distinction. Together, we can positively impact the lives of the young men at Fork Union Military Academy.

Contributions designated for the Sidwell Leadership Scholarship may be made online at www.forkunion.com/giving or mailed to:

  • The Advancement Department
  • Fork Union Military Academy
  • 4744 James Madison Hwy
  • Fork Union, VA 23055

Check out the photos from the Prep Football game against Saint Anne's Belfield.

Check out the photos from the Junior Prep Football game against Trinity Episcopal School!

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