Lions take on Cougars

Football season is once again upon us, as the Louisa Lions gear up to take on the Courtland Cougars in the annual Big Cat Classic.

The Lions have outscored the Cougars 111-20 in their last three clashes, the most recent of which was last year’s season opener. Louisa shut out Courtland 35-0, starting them on the road to a 10-0 regular season.

“We’ve had a long off-season,” Lions’ head coach Will Patrick said. “The kids are ready to play. They’re a little tired of beating up on each other in practice.”

Taking center stage in Louisa’s offense is freshman quarterback Landon Wilson. He’ll be assisted by several veteran players, including running backs Robert Morgan IV, Kalup Shelton and Jarett Hunter. Louisa’s running game has been one of their biggest assets the last few seasons, with the team putting up more than 8,500 rushing yards over the past two seasons. 

The Lions also return a number of key players on defense. In addition to senior linebackers Austin Sims and Aaron Aponte, both of whom have made several big stops for the Lions during the past two seasons, linemen Adrian Williams and Derrick Barbour return to the field. Williams also made some noise for the Lions as a running back late in the 2018 season, tallying 180 yards over 17 carries and scoring two touchdowns.

“We’ve got a lot of good players back this year,” Patrick said. “Everyone’s been working hard.”

Several new faces join Louisa’s defense, including junior Logan McGehee at defensive back and freshman Qwenton Spellman at defensive end.

Louisa will face a solid Wing-T offense and 4-3 defense from the Cougars, who also boast several returning players, including quarterback Raul Gil and running backs Qua Deberry and Joshua Morgan.

Patrick, for his part, isn’t worried and is focusing on getting his team ready.

“We hope to come out and put together four complete quarters,” he said. “We have some things that we need to clean up, but I love the effort I’m seeing from the guys so far.”

The game, which serves as the season opener for both teams, kicks off at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Courtland High School. Anyone unable to attend the game can listen to a live play-by-play broadcast of the action by Tommy Nelson, Dicky Purcell and Byron Mehlhaff through The Central Virgnian’s Facebook page beginning at 6:45 p.m.