Just when Louisa’s varsity football team was ready to take the field for their benefit game against Goochland on Friday, Aug. 23, Mother Nature called an audible.
Poor field conditions, due to the heavy rain the area experienced, forced the action to the campus of Fluvanna High School. And though the field was hospitable, it wasn’t home, and Louisa fell just short, 26-21.
“I thought both teams played really well. It was a good, hard, clean hitting game, and I think both teams got a lot out of it,” head coach Jon Meeks said.
The game, which served as a dual fundraiser for both teams, doesn’t count toward either team’s record. Instead, it gave coaches an opportunity to see their units operate in an actual game setting, as well as help guide them in personnel decisions. Regardless, the game marked the end of scrimmage-esque rules and practice jerseys.
“I love the game situations such as third and longs or third and shorts, and getting the mental reps like that,” Meeks said.
Much like the weather throughout the game, which rotated between fits of rain and rays of sunlight, the Lions’ play was equally tempestuous.
After allowing a Goochland score off of a 27-yard shotgun pass less than three minutes into the game, captain Deion Johnson responded with a beautiful counter toss dash down the right sideline for a 65-yard-touchdown. It was a great testament to the mental fortitude of the team.
Running back Markel Groomes also was a virtual highlight reel for the team, running for 162 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Though Meeks has passed the play calling duties over to blossoming offensive coordinator Will Patrick, the smash mouth tendencies remain.
“It was fun and electrifying,” Groomes said. “I’m trying to read my blocks better so I can see the seams and score. We had a few mental mistakes, but we’ll be better.”
For Meeks, Groomes’ performance was the first step in him reaching his full potential. Groomes’ return from an ACL injury wasn’t smooth, and his play suffered. Now, at full strength, his brutish running style gives the team an identity.
To read the entire story, see the Aug. 29 edition of The Central Virginian.