Arriving fashionably late by waiting until the National Anthem had been completed, the Louisa Lions crashed Western Albemarle’s party and ended the Warriors hopes of an undefeated season by shocking the hosts 32-29 this past Friday evening in Crozet.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Western’s first play from scrimmage set the tone for the night as the Warriors’ junior signal caller Kent Henry was picked off by the Lions’ Trey Cherry’s one-handed grab just shy of mid-field.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” Louisa Head Coach Jon Meeks said. “We all were pretty fired up tonight. Western is a great team and we played right with them all night.”
Utilizing a 12-play drive that chewed off almost five minutes (5:29), Louisa’s Zack Jackson scrambled into the end zone at the 6:22 mark of the first quarter from four-yards out to put his team in front 6-0.
Stunned but ever resilient, the Warriors retaliated quickly as Henry drove his squad down the field on their very next possession. Engineering a seven-play series, Henry aired a 34-yard touchdown reception to Trevor Harlow with 3:54 remaining on the first quarter clock to put the home team ahead 7-6 after the extra point attempt.
Following the most ambitious of starts from each squad, mediocrity suddenly set in as three of the next four offensive series resulted in punts from both sides. But with 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Lions’ Markel Groomes hauled in a 19-yard swing pass from Jackson to give Louisa a 12-7 lead.
Connecting once again for the ensuing two-point conversion, Jackson hit Groomes to increase Louisa’s advantage to 14-7.
On the evening, Groomes pulled in four receptions for 62 yards and two scores while punishing Western Albemarle for 94 yards on the ground accounting for nearly half (46%) of Louisa’s total offensive output for the game.
“Markel had a tremendous game,” Meeks said. “He brought everything he had tonight.”
A stalled series on the Lions first possession after the break resulted in a turn-over-on-downs on their own 39-yard line and that ever influential “momentum” that Western Albemarle desperately needed.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 8 edition of The Central Virginian.