What a great narrative the Louisa Lions varsity football team has written for themselves this year. The community has watched from the stands as each chapter has unfolded over the past 15 weeks. Their story has been a true page-turner, like that book you stay up all night to read because you can’t wait to see what happens in the end.
Coach Mark Fischer and his coaching staff saw glimmers early on that this group was something extra special during football camp at Hampden-Sydney University in Farmville. The coaches were impressed with what they saw and thought the players were way ahead of schedule at that point.
Fischer said he was amazed in August by the potential of this particular group of young men and spoke of their remarkable chemistry, camaraderie and work ethic. The fact that the players behaved as a combined driven force rather than as individuals was the first clue.
This team jelled. Whether it was because of the personal adversities that they had been through, or whether they were playing for something bigger than themselves, this team was one well-oiled machine all season. They were one team with one dream.
Despite the hype leading into the regular season, Fischer refused to compare this year’s group to that of the Lions’ 2006 state runner-up team. He said it wouldn’t be fair to compare them, and he was right. This team needed to make their own mark.
And that’s exactly what they did.
They gave it their all months ahead of football season during conditioning, and the results paid off. Their stamina in the second half of the games never flagged while opposing teams were beginning to tire.
They fought through the heat and the cold, the bruises, blood, sweat and tears—both in practice and on the field—they left it all out there every game. Then they gave even more of themselves, packing up boxes for the Louisa Santa Council and again when several of the players delivered food to the homes of local elderly residents last Friday.
This inspiring team, along with their impressive coaches, has earned the respect of their community, opposing teams and others around the state. They galvanized a community to dream and become one as they gathered in The Jungle or traveled to other schools to follow the games.
There is no doubt that this 2017 Class 4 state runner-up team will long be remembered as the one that taught us all to have hope and faith, work hard, respect others, never give up and fight tooth and nail until the last chapter is written and the book can be closed.
Congratulations on a phenomenal season. You make us all proud to be Lions!
*Note: In this week’s issue, we have published a 28-page special section “2017 Louisa Lions: Road to the Championship.” The section documents the football season in its entirety including an overview of Sunday’s state championship game.