A short memory is a great way to move on from a loss between weeks. Be a goldfish, right? Well, Louisa County didn’t have that opportunity during the regular season, that’s the cost of earning a home playoff game(s). So instead the Lions were stuck with that long term itch. They’ve been motivating themselves through weeks of lopsided scores picking the scab that was last year’s loss to Salem. It’s a scar now, they’ve picked at it that much, it’s etched into this group. But that means nothing if you don’t handle business with Jefferson Forest, you know, Louisa County’s first round Region 4D road block in the way of a potential rematch with Salem.
“We just wanted a chance at redemption, a shot at it,” said Lions coach Will Patrick. “We came out firing. Savion Hiter comes out on the third play of the game and hits them in the mouth. It just set the tone.”
It was a rout from the word go. In a 47-13 win, Louisa didn’t struggle or toy with Jefferson. Sure there were hiccups here and there, but when the opening drive of the game is just three plays — a 16-yard carry from Hiter, then a 4-yard run from Hiter followed by a 65-yard shimmy and shake to the endzone — the writing was on the wall. After that Louisa essentially kept Hiter as a decoy, threw the ball all over the place and watched Landon Wilson and Dyzier Carter have a field day with the Cavaliers secondary as they connected on three touchdown passes of 25, 34 and 38 yards.
“This has to carry over into next week if we want to move on,” Carter said. “If we want to keep winning? We have to make these big plays, have to keep scoring.”
After the initial scoring drive and a turnover on downs forced by the Lions defense, Wilson got to work on setting the bait and switch in the passing attack. The next drive saw Wilson and others lead the rushing attack, then go to the short passing game to march down and stake a 14-0 lead with 1:59 to play in the first. From there on out, Wilson waited for his chances to connect with Carter.
“I texted coach Patrick this week that when you look at the film, they bail, played 10-12 yards off so we wanted to keep it short with mesh routes, take what they’re giving,” Wilson said. “Then it was going to be about adjusting and taking the top off the defense. I think we did both things tonight.”
The 25-yard touchdown pass to Carter in the first minute of the second quarter was a short pass where the receiver just broke free and found day light to make it 21-0. After the Cavaliers capped a long drive with a 5-yard run from Alex Marsteller and the Lions answered with a 21-yard Hiter touchdown run, it was back to the air. Louisa took it’s opening drive of the half to the house quickly on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Carter to make it 34-7. The next drive saw Wilson hit Carter for a 34-yard touchdown to officially put things beyond reach at 40-7. And just in case, why not the best pass of the evening, a perfect placed 38-yard bomb in the back right corner of the endzone to Carter where only he, while heavily defended, could get it. Another 38-yard dart from Wilson to Gavin Anderson wrapped up the scoring for Louisa at 47-7 with 5:50 left to play.
“The continued process of working through every rep in practice, or minute of film or being coachable — making this team understand that everything do is important no matter how small — this is how you get these results,” Patrick said. “It’s the playoffs, everyone is tough and you have to win five games. Nobody will give you anything, lay on the ground. So you have to take it. To do that, you have to prepare. We threw the ball a lot but we took care of the football. That was important.”
Easily lost in the game was the Cavaliers had the ball the majority of the game and Louisa’s defense was out there trying to shut down an offense that grinds out first down after first down when it’s working. That happened once in the first half, on one drive. Then it stopped until the game was very much out of reach and the second and third stringers were in.
“We made some mistakes, they scored on a 16-play drive but we went in at halftime, made some adjustments and came back out flying, hitting heads,” said senior defensive lineman Qwenton Spellman. “You know, Louisa football.”
The Lions allowed 168 totals yard on the night and gave the offense not just turnovers on downs but also a fumble recovery that set up the 3rd quarter air raid.
On the night Wilson finished 14-for-16 passing with 208 yard and four TD’s. Carter caught three of those scores and four more passes to finish with seven receptions for 123. Hiter finished with a loud and yet quiet nine carries for 141 yards and two scores to keep his legs fresh for next week.
So now the table is set. The Lions didn’t look past the Cavaliers to get to the Spartans and the date is set. Regardless of the outcome, Louisa knows one thing for sure — as a program, it got what it wished for and now it gets to do something about a team that has tormented them for a long, long time next Friday in Mineral.
“They ain’t played in the Jungle yet,” Spellman said. “We got a taste of what they had last year. That’s been our motivation all year. All year. Remember 55 to 7. 55 to 7.”
As if they ever forgot.