U-Va. football cancels final game of season against Virginia Tech

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The Virginia football team will not play its final game of the season against Virginia Tech, the ACC announced Monday night, following the shooting Nov. 13 that killed three Cavaliers players and wounded two other students, including another player. The game had been scheduled for Saturday in Blacksburg.

The decision came two days after a memorial service was held at John Paul Jones Arena honoring the lives of Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry, who died when a gunman opened fire on a charter bus that had come back to campus following a school trip to Washington.

The Cavaliers canceled their game scheduled for this past Saturday against Coastal Carolina at Scott Stadium to allow team members, coaches and staff as well as their families and those of the slain players to attend the service.

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Perry’s funeral is Saturday in Miami, meaning the cancellation of the matchup with Virginia Tech will allow his teammates to attend. Chandler’s funeral is set for Sunday in Virginia Beach, and Davis’s is scheduled for Nov. 30 in South Carolina.

Virginia finishes its season 3-7. Virginia Tech’s year ends with a 3-8 mark.

“My job is to lead in moments like this,” Cavaliers first-year coach Tony Elliott said last week during a news conference with Athletic Director Carla Williams. “I’ve had my moments where I’ve broken down and showed my emotions, and I’ve even had those moments in front of the team. I think it’s important that we all grieve.”

The team has been attempting to process its unimaginable loss since the tragedy ignited a manhunt for Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., the accused assailant who was apprehended the next morning in Henrico County, according to law enforcement authorities.

Jones, 23, was a football walk-on for one semester in 2018, and his time on the team under then-coach Bronco Mendenhall did not coincide with that of the players killed or that of Mike Hollins Jr., the junior running back recently discharged from a hospital following multiple surgeries.

The shooting has left many unanswered questions regarding the motive as the investigation continues into the past of the accused shooter, who had been convicted of a concealed weapons violation in 2021, school officials indicated.

The Charlottesville community took a step toward healing last weekend during a tribute that drew more than 9,000 people and included remarks from Elliott, Williams, school president Jim Ryan and players.

“For me, the best coping mechanism is the young men,” Elliott said. “Having a chance to be around them and to see them, and to see their pain, to see their hurt just inspires me to keep pushing forward each and every day.”

Davis, an occasional starter at wide receiver, did not play in the Cavaliers’ last two games while in the concussion protocol. He was on the field for an overtime loss to Miami on Oct. 29, when he finished with one reception for 47 yards. On the season, the 6-foot-7 junior had 16 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns after missing all of last year with a torn ACL suffered during spring practice.

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Perry, a junior linebacker, played in the Cavaliers’ last game Nov. 12, recording two tackles in a 37-7 loss to Pittsburgh at Scott Stadium. He appeared in six games this season. In all, he played 15 games over three seasons and had nine tackles.

Chandler, a junior, did not appear in any games this season after transferring from Wisconsin.

“The rules are permissive,” Williams said of the NCAA permitting players to attend memorial services. “We’ll do whatever it takes that helps our players heal and support the families of our three players.”

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