Needing a win to qualify for the 4A playoffs, Louisa fell 37-18 to visiting Monticello on Friday to bring the Lions’ season of inconsistency and injuries to a close. Louisa’s final record of 3-7 left them on the outside looking in as postseason play begins next Friday night.
Louisa’s 3-3 stack defense simply wasn’t enough to contain the powerful strides of Mustangs running back T.J. Tillery, who accounted for 238 of the team’s 373 rushing yards.
“That kid is almost so good that you have to stop him before he gets going,” Meeks said. “You don’t give him a hole and let him get a 10-yard full head of steam. I think every team that plays him in the playoffs is going to find that out.”
At the game’s onset, it seemed Louisa had a formula worth taking notice of. On the game’s opening possession, Lions running back Deion Johnson broke through the left side for a 50-yard gain down to Monticello’s 10-yard-line. Though the Mustangs were able to force Louisa into a fourth-and-goal situation on the two-yard-line, quarterback Trey Cherry snuck through the trenches to give Louisa an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
“Eat the clock and move the chains,” Meeks said. “That was the game plan.”
Louisa’s defense got off to a hot start as well. After a lengthy drive by Monticello gave them a first-and-goal from the nine-yard-line, the Lions held Monticello to a field goal with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
“I was just proud of my guys,” Meeks said. “That was a very good football team that we played. We couldn’t have started any better.”
From that point until halftime, it was a display of one-upmanship. Monticello forced Louisa into a quick three-and-out, but soon after, the Mustangs failed to score on a fourth-and-goal attempt from the one-foot-line.
After Monticello seemed to seize momentum with a 27-yard touchdown run by Tillery and forcing a Louisa fumble soon after, Louisa responded with a leaping interception by defensive back Idris Davis on a long pass attempt. The Lions followed up by going on a nine-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard field goal to give Louisa an 11-10 lead with just three minutes before halftime
From there, though, the night belonged to Tillery.
Tillery broke through the line on Monticello’s fourth play of the drive to score on a 46-yard touchdown, giving Monticello a 17-11 lead just before halftime.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 14 edition of The Central Virginian.