As King George’s 47-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left of the uprights with just a few seconds remaining in their matchup versus Louisa on Friday, Sept. 20, the palpable feeling of jubilance on the Lions’ sideline seemed to mark a distinct turning point for the team’s season so far.
If only that was the end of the story.
In one of the most bizarre and controversial finishes in the history of Louisa football – a finish complete with penalty flags, tears and heartbreak – King George ended up getting two more attempts at that game winning field goal, converting on the final attempt to give the Foxes a 15-14 win over Louisa.
“The whole last sequence of that game was bad,” head coach Jon Meeks said.
The trouble for Louisa began when all seemed to be going right for the Lions. Up 14-12 with just under a minute and a half left and with the ball at the Foxes’ five-yard line, Louisa attempted to convert on fourth-and-two to ice the game. Quarterback Trey Cherry was promptly stuffed at the line of scrimmage, though Meeks and others contended that he reached the first down marker.
It didn’t get any prettier from there.
King George, led by their quarterback and Division I prospect Corey Henderson, obtained the ball, facing what seemed to be a little too much field and a little too short of time to make a comeback.
Despite having only 1:17 left to play and no timeouts, King George managed to move the ball through the air, utilizing quick out routes to the sidelines, to reach Louisa’s 33-yard-line with five seconds remaining. After kicker Jacob Perkins’ 50-yard attempt for the win sailed left, a roughing the kicker penalty was called.
Fifteen yards later, the Foxes lined up for another attempt, this time the 35-yard kick was smothered and blocked by Louisa’s defensive line.
As members of the team ran onto the field to celebrate, flags started flying again.
Referees ruled that players on the Louisa sidelines stepped onto the field before the ball had been ruled dead, giving King George yet another chance to kick themselves to victory, this time from just 24 yards out.
The kick was good, and it left Louisa players and coaches kicking themselves.
“Basically, my take on it is this: my guys lost the game because they got excited that they won and that’s disappointing,” Meeks said. “We tell our guys to play with emotion, and they’ve been doing that all year, and then you get a couple guys jumping up and down and being on the field a second too early.”
It was a crushing blow to a Louisa team that had played stellar football for most of the game. Henderson was held to just 13 yards rushing and just 117 yards passing.
“To bounce back from Courtland and play like that, I’m really proud of my guys,” Meeks said. “I think they played outstanding against a very good football team.”
To read the entire story, see the Sept. 26 edition of The Central Virginian.