It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t dominant, but Louisa’s 14-13 win over the Charlottesville Black Knights on Friday, Sept. 27 was just what the doctor ordered to get the Lions back on track after a two-game losing streak, which culminated with a crushing defeat by King George last week.
“I have a group of guys that care about each other, grind it out and fight to the death,” head coach Jon Meeks said after the triumph.
“This win lifts some weight off of your shoulders,” senior running back Markel Groomes said.
It was the type of one-point win that required fortitude, which the Lions needed plenty of. The Lions took a 14-point lead into halftime, but with four minutes left, Louisa was up by just one and had the ball on their own three-yard line, making it a tough task to gain field position, much less run the clock out.
On third down and three at the 10-yard-line with 3:10 remaining, Louisa put the ball in Groomes’ hand. Hit by three Charlottesville players before the first down line, Groomes chugged forward for the first down.
One minute later, Louisa faced the same situation, gave it to the same player and got the same result. And with that run, Louisa went from a team with a 1-2 record to a team undefeated in the Jefferson District. The Lions are now a team dead set on rebounding from a rough start to the season.
“All I could think was, ‘Get the first,’” Groomes said. “That’s all I could think of. I looked over at the sidelines and I thought, “My boys need this. I need this. We need this.”
It was a close finish that few saw coming after the first few minutes of play. Louisa dominated the time of possession in the first half thanks to mental errors from the Black Knights. They fumbled punt returns, misplayed kick returns and Groomes added an interception. The score was 14-10 just four minuets before halftime, and Louisa had run 33 plays. Meanwhile,Charlottesville had run just six.
In all, the Lions entered halftime dominating in every statistical category. The fact that they were only up 14 was almost disappointing.
A missed 30-yard field goal in the first quarter left the team empty-handed after nine minutes of continuous possession to start the game. Later, a fumbled snap on third down forced the Lions to punt early in the second quarter after initially starting the drive at Charlottesville’s 38-yard-line.
To read the entire story, see the Oct. 3 edition of The Central Virginian.