Coming off of their third straight undefeated regular season, the Louisa Lions hope to extend their winning streak in the playoffs, beginning with the Region 4B quarterfinal game against the King George Foxes on Nov. 15.
The Lions enter the playoffs with a 10-0 record coming off of a 42-0 victory against the Albemarle Patriots and securing the number one seed in the region. King George secured the number eight seed with a 41-12 victory over Spotsylvania last week.
“The thing about [this region] is that if you’re lucky enough to be in the top eight, every week is a battle,” Lions’ head coach Will Patrick said. “There are no pushovers. King George is a very good opponent, probably one of the best opponents we’ve seen this season.”
The Foxes boast a 6-4 record for the season, a vast improvement over their 1-9 record in 2018. In addition to their win over Spotsylvania, they also scored a 56-18 victory over Caroline and won close games with Orange County and Courtland throughout the season.
Even with their success, King George head coach Vern Lunsford isn’t taking anything for granted going into the playoffs.
“I told our guys that everyone is 0-0 and it’s a new season now,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how you got into the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what your record was, it’s a one-game season, win or go home.”
A key factor in their success is a strong passing game led by quarterback Charles Mutter, who has completed 111 of his 201 pass attempts this season for 1,819 yards and 13 touchdowns, four of which came in the Spotsylvania game.
The Foxes also boast a strong running game, putting up 263 rushing yards against the Knights led by Javon Campbell with 151 yards and a touchdown.
Louisa, as it has all season, brings a lot of weapons to the table going into the playoffs. Jarett Hunter leads the rushing game with 929 yards over 129 carries this season, followed by Kalup Shelton with 704 yards and Robert Morgan IV with 601. Through the air, Xavien Hunter leads the team in receiving yards with 353, followed closely by Noah Robinson with 295 and Alex Washington with 251.
One of the biggest testimonies to the versatility of the Lions’ offense is that each of Louisa’s six touchdowns against Albemarle was scored by a different player.
“We’ve got guys who can take it to the house on every play,” Patrick said. “That’s exciting. You don’t get that every year.”
The Lions’ defense has had its own share of success this season. In addition to shutting out three of their opponents, they’ve managed to hold seven of them to 10 or fewer first downs per game, and three to less than 50 yards of total offense.
“I might call the offense, but I truly believe that defense wins games and wins championships,” Patrick said. “Mike Clements, Josh Giusto and Dillon Hollins have done a great job ... of game planning and getting the kids ready.”
Lunsford knows what kind of team he’s facing this week and is preparing accordingly.
“Louisa is a really good team,” he said. “They’re very well coached with great players across the board. Coach Patrick does a great job having his guys ready to play. We will have to play a complete game in all phases Friday night.”
Friday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in The Jungle. Anyone unable to attend the game can listen to a live broadcast of the action by Tommy Nelson, Dicky Purcell and Byron Mehlhaff through The Central Virginian’s Facebook page beginning at 7:10 p.m.