And so it begins.
Regional football tournament play across the state kicks off this Friday, and for the Louisa Lions, it brings an old rival back to The Jungle.
For the second time this season, the Lions will host the Courtland High School Cougars. The last time these two teams faced off was in the season opener on Aug. 25. In that game, the Lions ran roughshod over the Cougars for a 41-7 victory, starting Louisa on the path to its regular season sweep.
Lions head coach Mark Fischer isn’t thrilled to be facing Courtland for the second time.
“It’s always tough playing a team for the second time,” he said. “I think, statistically, the team that lost the first time wins the rematch.”
Fischer has plenty of cause to worry. The Cougars ended their regular season with a 6-4 record, winning their last six consecutive games. Their most recent win? A 55-3 victory over Spotsylvania.
“We’re going to have to prepare and be disiciplined,” Fischer said. “We’re going to be focusing on getting ready this week, particularly for their [Courtland’s] split-four defense. We haven’t seen that since week one, so we have to get reacclimated to that.”
The stakes are higher for Louisa this time around, as a loss on Friday night will mean the end of their football season.
“None of us want to hang up our gear just yet, and I’m not ready to be retired yet,” Fischer said. “Hopefully, we can keep having success and stay motivated.”
History is not on Louisa’s side when it comes to playoffs. Over the last several years, if the Lions made it into the playoffs, they’ve been eliminated in the first round.
That’s a pattern that senior quarterback Malik Bell hopes they can break this year.
“We’ve got to go 1-0 every week,” he said. “We’re tired of being put out in the first round, so we’re looking to go out there and make some noise.”
Friday’s game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. in The Jungle. Admission for the game is $8. Athletic passes will not be accepted for Friday night’s game.
Can’t make it to the game? Longtime sports announcers Tommy Nelson, Dicky Purcell and Byron Mehlhaff bring you the play-by-play action in the Lions’ playoff game against the Courtland Cougars Nov. 10. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Listen to it LIVE beginning at 7:10 p.m. on the The Central Virginian’s YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/8aeSP2WUAmY