UPDATE: Appomattox swimmer Jackson Cheatham, a multi-sport standout, will swim at Emory & Henry next season. He attended a signing ceremony along with three other Raiders on Wednesday.

After a season in which he racked up 3,474 all-purpose yards and accounted for 46 total touchdowns, Heritage quarterback Jabari Blake made his college plans official in a signing ceremony with five of his teammates Wednesday.

Blake inked his National Letter of Intent to play at Delaware State next season and was one nearly two dozen athletes across the Lynchburg area to take part in National Signing Day.

The signing day follows the early signing period that opened in December.

“These have been the best four years of my life,” the 6-foot-4 QB said of his high school career, which spanned a stint at Roanoke’s Northside High School and two years at HHS. “I’m glad I was able to go out on top.”

He certainly did that. Blake and his five teammates who sat at a podium at HHS were instrumental in helping the Pioneers earn the Class 3 state title in December. Blake racked up the accolades. He was named Class 3, Region 3C and Seminole District offensive player of the year in 2018, and was named this newspaper’s all-area offensive POY.

Heritage defender Vonte Pannell, who earned Seminole and Region 3C defender of the year in addition to receiving a first-team all-state nod, also attended the ceremony, announcing his intentions to play at West Virginia’s Concord University.

Pioneers all-state first-team receiver Lani Rivera will attend Ferrum College along with second-team all-state offensive lineman KJ Burks.

Darius Randolph, who earned offensive and defensive lineman first-team all-state honors, is headed to Wingate University in North Carolina. Chris Megginson, the prolific receiver and defensive back who signed at Liberty University last December, attended the ceremony, too.

“I just kind of wanted to do a big thing with my teammates to make it special,” Megginson said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed about. … We’ve been playing with each other since middle school, and over time, we became like brothers.”

William Campbell 6-foot-3 receiver and outside linebacker Noah Peerman signed with VMI after receiving all-Dogwood District and Region 1B honors in his senior season.

Liberty High tight end Roman Ridley, who put up 676 receiving yards for the Minutemen in 2018, committed Wednesday as a preferred walk-on at Old Dominion. He’ll join teammate and lineman Brandon Ruff at ODU. Ridley went on his official visit last weekend, coach Chris Watts said.

At Brookville High, four players attended a signing ceremony: kicker Chris Cline (Kentucky’s Georgetown College), offensive guard Troy Williams (Concord), offensive lineman Dakota Massie (Christopher Newport) and outside linebacker Taylor Evans (Ferrum).

Cline has been all across the country on recruiting visits. The senior entered the Virginia High School League’s record book after wrapping a career that included making 187 of his 191 total extra points and 18 of 22 total field goal attempts. He ranks fourth for extra points made in a career in VHSL history. He has served as Brookville’s kicker since he was a freshman.

“I started kicking in eighth grade, just for something to do other than soccer,” Cline said. “I was already pretty much the guy coming into varsity, having kicked for just a year. And it was like, ‘Is this really happening?’”

He was one of three area kickers honored Wednesday. Rustburg’s Chase Droog made his plans to play at UVa-Wise official. At Appomattox, kicker Nick Farris did the same, and will attend Howard University.

Farris made 52 of 55 PATs in 2018 and notched a 47-yard field goal.

The Appomattox senior was joined Wednesday afternoon by teammate Brodie Williams, a long snapper and tight end who will play at Marshall University. And multi-sport standout Josie Walton announced she will play volleyball next season at the University of Lynchburg.

At LCA, 6-9, 280-pound left tackle and defensive lineman Jake Oliver announced he’ll play at West Virginia’s Glenville State.

“Coach Rocco, an awesome coach, he just helped me reach out to colleges and put my name out there,” said Oliver, who played all four years at LCA and was a two-year starter.

At Jefferson Forest, three athletes attended a signing ceremony. Quarterback Nathan Pribble will play at Ferrum, Tiffany Carey will run track and play basketball at Eastern Mennonite University and volleyball player Gracyn Draney is headed to Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. Carey’s basketball squad is the No. 1 seed this week’s the Seminole District Tournament and a favorite in Region 4D.

And at Gretna, wide receiver Dajon Hicks announced he will play at Tyler Junior College in Texas next season. Hicks, who averaged 25.8 yards per catch in his senior season, is also a standout basketball player for the Hawks, who are currently 13-4 overall.

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Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.

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