The Lord Botetourt football team will likely get its toughest test to date when the Cavaliers play host to Franklin County in Daleville this Saturday at 1 p.m. Both teams were undefeated at press time, although Franklin was scheduled to play Northside on Tuesday night.
Last year, when the Cavaliers went undefeated until the state championship game, Franklin County gave them their toughest test of the regular season. The Cavaliers trailed 21-13 at the half but rallied to win 22-21 as Mikey Rago kicked a late field goal for the deciding points.
This year the Eagles have beaten Northside, William Byrd and Staunton River to put them third in the Region 6A rankings behind Oscar Smith High and Thomas Dale. With only four teams in each region making the post-season, this is a big game for the Eagles.
“They have a real good football team,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “They have a good young quarterback and pretty good size.”
The Cavaliers continued atop the Region 3D rankings with another blowout win last week in Moneta. Botetourt defeated Staunton River, 49-6, to improve to 4-0 on the season. In those four wins the Cavaliers have outscored the opposition 223 to 31 while tailback Hunter Rice, who committed to play at VMI last week, has scored 18 total touchdowns for LB.
Last week in Moneta the Golden Eagles “held” Rice to three touchdowns and 160 yards rushing. Hunter and Kyle Arnholt scored the touchdowns in the first half as Rice had runs of seven and five yards and Arnholt caught TD passes of 17 and 29 yards from Sammy Peery. River scored on a 37-yard pass as LB led 28-6 at intermission.
The Cavaliers broke it open in the third quarter, scoring three more unanswered TDs. Arnholt scored his third touchdown on a 25-yard pass, this time from KJ Bratton, followed by a 13-yard TD pass from Peery to Zach Horton. Rice then polished off the day with a seven-yard run as the clock ran continuously through half of the third quarter and all the fourth.
“I thought we could have played a little cleaner,” said Harless. “We’re at a point where I have to push them every day in practice. I don’t think we improved from week three to week four.”
Botetourt will get an advantage this week with four extra days to prepare, as LB played last Friday and Franklin had a Tuesday game. Due to Franklin’s mid-week game the LB-Franklin game will be Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
“I prefer to play on Friday, but this is a different kind of season,” said Harless. “Friday is for high school, Saturday is for college.”