Expectations for Louisa County football are, obviously, quite high.
So a first half that led to a deadlocked game but included three forced turnovers by the Lions’ defense can feel frustrating.
“If we were up 21-7 at the half we would’ve been frustrated because we knew we weren’t playing the game we’re capable of playing,” said Louisa County’s Jarett Hunter.
Hunter and the Lions took out that frustration on Fluvanna with an explosive second half that included three more forced turnovers and this time included four offensive touchdowns as Louisa wrapped up an undefeated regular season for the second straight year and rolled 35-7 past Fluvanna County Saturday night.
The win wrapped up the Region 4B No. 1 seed for Louisa, setting up Huguenot as their first round opponent at home this Friday.
Hunter powered the Louisa ground attack with 255 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries. But he was particularly clear about how that offensive performance happened.
“Our defense created the momentum for our offense to get going,” Hunter said. “Every turnover that they made we had to score, we had to hold up our end of the bargain. We let them down a few times but they never let us down.”
The Lions’ defense created six total turnovers, including five fumble recoveries. Brandon Smith forced a trio of fumbles on his own in a dominant performance on senior night for the Penn State-bound linebacker.
“Brandon Smith has really stepped his game up, he’s elevated everyone’s play,” said Louisa coach Will Patrick. “You didn’t know who any of these kids were last year.”
Smith had a lot of help against the Flucos too as Louisa stacked up impact defensive plays. Noah Robinson also had a forced fumble and an interception while Derrick Barbour recovered the first Fluvanna fumble. Aaron Aponte made a series of key tackles in the backfield and had a sack in the second half as Louisa kept pulling away. Reggie Cosby made plays all over the field including a sack and a critical breakup in the second half to help force a punt attempt that Fluvanna faked. Hunter himself had a fumble recovery. Robbie Guinn had a first half sack.
A critical play in the first half came when Smith sprinted to his right, went horizontal and like a heat-seeking missile punched the ball out of of Prophett Harris’ hands without even making much contact with Harris who stayed upright. It was a perfect robbery, and when Louisa pounced on it a half second later, it ended a 16-play march by the Flucos where any points would’ve given them the lead.
Louisa nearly took the lead itself going into halftime before penalties cost them a shot at it and forced them into halftime tied 7-7. They opened the second half after a solid return with a quick four-play drive capped by a 29-yard Hunter touchdown and never looked back, with Adrain Wilson scoring from 12 yards out on the next drive after a Noah Robinson forced fumble.
It was a little like looking in the mirror for Louisa County when Fluvanna County’s Wing-T started moving the ball around the field against the Lions Friday night. The Lions obviously have some familiarity with old school offenses.
“We felt like we were playing our offense,” said Louisa County’s Cosby. “We’ve all got an assignment and we just do it.”
Fluvanna spread the ball with Nate Smith rushing for 78 yards, Kobe Edmonds rushing for 35 yards and Prophett Harris notching 40 yards. The Flucos struggled through the air though with Edmonds going 3-for-11 for 38 yards. It was clear too that the Lions’ depth took its toll on Fluvanna in the second half as Louisa started pulling away.
“They’re a program, we’re building to a program,” said Fluvanna coach Michael Morris. “They’ve been in the weight room and they’ve got more bodies and it kind of wore on us a little bit.”
Going into a loaded Region 4B field as the No. 1 seed, the fact that Louisa can respond like it did when they feel frustrated is an encouraging sign. Everything gets a little more serious, a little more challenging here.
But for a night, Louisa could enjoy just the fourth 10-0 season in program history (since 1946) and locking up the No. 1 seed in the region.
“I think if we come out and play like we did in the second half we’re going to be a tough out for anybody,” Patrick said.