Lions fall to Foxes in region opener

Kalup Shelton carries the ball down the field past a King George defender. Shelton carried the ball 15 times for 122 yards in the Lions’ Region 4B matchup with the Foxes.

 

The Louisa Lions’ football season came to a close Friday with a 31-15 loss to the King George Foxes in the Region 4B semifinal game.

The Foxes came out of the gate strong, with Chris Cox scoring on the second play of the game with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Charles Mutter. Kicker AJ Dale put the extra point away to give King George a 7-0 lead with 11:10 left in the opening quarter.

“We saw [Mutter] on film and he’s a very good quarterback, there’s no doubt about it,” said Louisa head coach Will Patrick. “We saw him last year, but they were a younger team. They are a senior-heavy team this year. I knew it was going to be a very stiff challenge for us tonight. We had a good game plan coming in, but the big play they hit to open the game, that kind of hurt there, and got the momentum on their side.”

The Foxes tried to add to their lead on their next possession with a field goal attempt, but Jordan Smith blocked the kick. Xavier Harrison scooped up the loose ball and made a break for the end zone, but was stopped on the eight-yard line. The Lions weren’t able to pick up a first down on the drive and punted, setting the Foxes up on their 29-yard line. 

Mutter connected with Javon Campbell for 28 of those yards, then put it away himself for the score. Dale’s kick was good and the Foxes led 14-0 with 5:26 left in the first quarter.

The Lions started to garner a bit of momentum on their next possession, making it into King George’s territory before being stalled at the 30-yard line and turning the ball over on downs. The Foxes began marching back down the field, getting to the Lions’ nine-yard line before Mutter found Cox for the score, boosting their lead to 21-0 with 9:14 left in the half.

The Lions were able to come up with an answer on their next drive. Starting on their own 24-yard line, they worked their way deep into King George’s territory a few yards at a time. They made their way to the 13-yard line and Landon Wilson found his way to the end zone from there. Caden Lundy put the extra point away, making the score 21-7 with just under four minutes before halftime. 

The Lions wasted no time in getting the ball back, with Chase Miller picking off a pass from Mutter to set the Lions up just past midfield. They weren’t able to capitalize on the drive and the score remained unchanged heading into the second half.

The Foxes put some more points on the board midway through the second quarter. Louisa’s defense kept them out of the end zone, but Dale’s field goal attempt, this one from 24 yards out, was good to extend the Foxes’ lead to 24-7. 

Mutter struck again early in the fourth quarter, firing off a 17-yard touchdown pass to Cox to make the score 31-7 with 10:23 left to play. Mutter ended the night with 234 passing yards over 12 completions, including three touchdowns.

The Lions kept fighting and came up with another score a couple of possessions later. Kalup Shelton broke through the defense for a 55-yard scamper to paydirt. Shelton, who had seen limited playing time the last few weeks due to an ankle injury, was back on form for the Lions, tallying 122 yards over 15 carries. Wilson ran the ball for a two-point conversion, cutting the Foxes’ lead to 31-15 with 3:54 to play.

The Lions weren’t done yet. After the defense stalled King George’s offense at the 30-yard line with just over a minute left on the clock, the offense got to work. Shelton put up 22 rushing yards to get the ball past midfield and Wilson fired off a trio of passes to three different receivers (Andy Proffitt for six yards, Logan McGhee for 12 and Shelton for 15) to get the ball to the Foxes’ 20-yard line with time for one more play. The Lions went for the score, with Wilson throwing a pass into the end zone, but the ball was intercepted by Dylan Truxon, denying Louisa the last word.

“We had some chances,” Patrick said. “We didn’t move the ball that well on offense, but we got it going late. They made some plays and we had some opportunities and we just missed some plays. At the end of the day, you can’t put your head down, you can’t hang your head, we gave everything we had tonight and we came up a little short, but I am very proud to be the head coach at Louisa County and I’m very proud of all these young men that I coach.

“I’m just happy we got a chance to play football,” he added. “These seniors got a chance to play seven games, and obviously it didn’t turn out how we wanted it to here tonight, but I’ll say one thing: When you play Louisa County, you’re going to play hard. We’re going to play to the end and I’m proud of our kids.”

The Lions end their season with a record of 6-1.

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