Dylan Crawford intercepts a pass and returns it for a touchdown.
Photo by John Wacher

After a dominating 51-7 win over Tunstall, the Region D second seeded Lord Botetourt football team will host Magna Vista this week. Game time is 7 p.m. on Friday, and all indications are it will be at Lord Botetourt High School.

Last week’s game against Tunstall was scheduled to be played at LB, but moved to the artificial turf field at William Fleming High School late in the week due to the unplayable condition of the Lord Botetourt High School field. Botetourt’s field has been somewhat of a concern all season long, and with midweek rain and a cloudy day on Thursday it was deemed unfit for a playoff game.

“The grass was dying already in early October and the field stayed wet for the last three weeks,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “I have no idea why.”

With no rain expected this week the plan is to play this week’s game in Daleville, and the Cavaliers would certainly like to do so. They want to have every edge against Magna Vista, the third seeded team in Region D.

The Warriors come in at 8-3 for the season. Their losses have been to GW-Danville by a 45-0 score, Reidsville of North Carolina, 35-0, and Jefferson Forest, 29-19. In last week’s playoff opening game the Warriors beat sixth seeded Alleghany, 42-6.

The Cavaliers and Warriors have a history. In 2015 the two met in the Group 3A state championship and Magna Vista took a 47-21 win. Jacque Hairston, who is now playing at Coastal Carolina, had a big day in the win for Magna Vista.

“They don’t have anyone on the team like Jacque Hairston this year,” said Harless. “There’s no comparison between that team and this one. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”

The Warriors do have some threats. They have a big tailback in 6’2”, 201-pound Chris Scales and a 6’3” wide receiver. C.J. Hughes, a 250-pound defensive end, can disrupt things on defense.

The only common opponent between the two is Tunstall. Magna Vista beat the Trojans 46-25 in a game where Tunstall led, 17-13, at the half. Last week over at Fleming the Cavaliers took Tunstall apart, 51-7. The Trojans didn’t score until the final minute when the LB second team defense was in the game, and to that point Tunstall had just one first down.

Preston Martin takes a “throw back” pass from Evan Eller and scores for the Cavaliers.

“It was one of our better executed games,” said Harless.

Noah Overstreet, an all-state candidate on the defensive line, gave the Trojans fits. He blocked two punts, one for a safety, had four sacks and another tackle for a loss.

Botetourt was equally adept on offense. The normally conservative Cavaliers pulled out the playbook to score on a throw-back pass from Evan Eller to quarterback Preston Martin, who was all alone for a 25-yard score.

The Cavaliers led 37-0 at the half and had the clock running continuously after intermission. Ethan Clower scored twice and ran for 102 yards and Martin threw two touchdown passes to Jake Dewease in the first quarter, one for 22 yards and one for 26. Dylan Crawford had a 26-yard “pick six” and freshman Dylan Wade got some time in the backfield and ran for a 25-yard TD.

With the win LB is now 9-2 on the season and three wins away from a trip to another state championship game. However, one of the teams to have beaten them still stands in the way, as Staunton River is the top seed in Region D. The undefeated Eagles will host fourth seeded Northside this week, and if both Staunton River and LB win, there will be a rematch in Moneta the day after Thanksgiving. That’s the one everyone’s looking forward to except the football coaches, who know looking too far into the future can be a dangerous thing.

“Our kids are wound up and ready to play,” said Harless. “We had a lot of kids under the weather late in the season but we’re starting to get everyone back and we’re ready to go.”