Right when it seemed the wheels were about to completely fall off Friday night, Louisa County started clawing back.
“We could’ve just hung it up right there,” said Louisa County coach Will Patrick. “Everyone is bigger than we are, we’re undersized, but we play with tenacity and we keep fighting until the bell goes off.”
That effort and fight seemed like it was going to be enough to vault the No. 2-seeded Lions into the Region 5C semifinals, but Mills Godwin pulled out a 32-24 victory to end Louisa’s season.
“They just made a couple of more plays than we did,” Patrick said.
The Lions (9-2) got three straight critical defensive stops stretching between the third and fourth quarters, then tied the game and took a lead with a little more than two minutes to play when Jayden Seaberry – who rushed for 170 yards on 31 touches – scored from two yards out with 2:09 left.
The Eagles had an answer though. Mills Godwin’s Daniel Viener hit Isaiah Brown on a long catch and run on a seam route down the middle, setting up Viener for a short TD run. After an encroachment call on Louisa, Mills Godwin opted to go for two and the win. Roman Parham blasted in and put Mills Godwin up 25-24.
Louisa opted from some trickery on the next play and attempted a double pass that Godwin’s Tristan Ginn blew up, with the fumble careening back into the endzone where the Eagles pounced and extended their lead to 32-24.
The loss ended a 9-2 run for a Louisa County senior class that has largely had to wait its turn in The Jungle’s spotlight, playing behind last year’s deep, talented class and some young stars that made a huge impact last season.
“They’ve always been in the shadow of last year’s class but now they’re out of the shadow,” Patrick said. “They’re 7-0 in the district, 9-2 overall and one or two more bounces here or there and maybe we win. But no heads down. This is always the hardest night, but you look around and you see the joy and the fight and the tenacity – that’s what Louisa football is”
Those three second half stops were huge for Louisa’s defense, but the Lions’ unit played excellent the entire night, giving up just the single huge play on Brown’s seam route. Louisa held Mills Godwin to a combined 2-for-11 on third and fourth down conversion attempts and just 223 yards of total offense.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids,” Patrick said. “(Looking to next season) we’ve got to get everybody ready and put the pieces where they best fit.”
George Albertson got the Lions’ rally started with a field goal from 25 yards out with 9:58 to play, pulling Louisa within a score at 17-10. Louisa got the ball back and drove quickly and Isaiah Haywood scored from 15 yards out with 7:42 left to tie the game at 17-17. It was Haywood’s second touchdown after he got Louisa’s started with an early score after a recovered mortar kick on the opening kickoff.
After forcing another three and out, Louisa went into six-minute offense mode, trying to drain the clock and score. The approach worked, whittling the clock down to just over two minutes when Seaberry scored. It was too much time for the Eagles though.
Mills Godwin advances to the region semifinals where they’ll face Matoaca.