Botetourt’s Adam Eller (24) and Ethan Clower (22) combine to make a tackle for a loss against Northside. Photo by Brian Hoffman

Lord Botetourt evened the score with Northside last Friday by scoring with seven seconds left in the game.

Evan Eller caught a touchdown pass as Botetourt took a 24-20 win in one of the most entertaining games of the season. It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams, and both have gone down to the wire.

Northside was home for the first one and took a threepoint win on a last second field goal. This time it was Botetourt’s turn for the heroics.

“Northside has a real good team and we’re likely to play them again,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “The rest of the season will decide whether it’s here or there.” This series cries out for a third game, because the first two have been fantastic. Botetourt came out fired up Friday and drew first blood after a scoreless first quarter when Hunter Rice bulled over from the one. Botetourt then went up 14-0 when quarterback Preston Martin hit Jake Dewease over the middle. Dewease dragged a Northside defender into the end zone from the five-yard line to complete a 39-yard touchdown play, and Trey Rice kicked the extra point for a 14-0 lead. Northside got on the board for the first time late in the half on a 13-yard run by Quentin Slash. On the ensuing kickoff the Vikings kicked the ball out of bounds twice, incurring five-yard penalties and re-kicks both times. The third try was inbounds, but the Vikings were called for a personal foul on the tackle, then were hit with another after arguing the call and LB had the ball at the Northside 20 with time still remaining. This is where it started getting crazy. Botetourt got the ball inside the 10 but only a few seconds remained and Harless sent the field goal team on the field. Trey Rice’s kick was blocked by Christian Fisher, who sprinted toward the opposite goal as the first half time ticked off the scoreboard clock.

However, kicker Rice caught Fisher just before he could cross the goal line, tackling him at the Botetourt two to apparently save a touchdown. As it turned out, the touchdown wouldn’t have counted anyway as Northside was called for a sideline violation during the return, and that would have negated the touchdown. The second half was equally bizarre. Northside scored on a 30-yard run by Fisher but missed the extra point after missing a prior field goal attempt. Botetourt increased the lead to 17-13 on a 42-yard Trey Rice field goal and at that time the missed extra point loomed large. The Vikings took their first lead of the game with just over four minutes on the clock. With a fourth and one at the LB eightyard line Viking quarterback Jalen Jackson ran a sneak. He appeared to be stopped at about the first yard marker, but broke free from the scrum and scored a touchdown on the play. Northside kicked the extra point for a 20-17 lead with about four minutes to go. It got crazy on the kickoff again. Northside tried a squib kick to deter a return by LB, but the ball hit off a Botetourt player on the front line and bounced about 25 yards in the other direction, behind the kicking team. It was easy enough for Northside to pick up the ball and retain possession at a critical time of the game.

At this time the Botetourt defense stepped up, forcing a three and out that included a nineyard loss. Botetourt received the kick with just over two minutes to go and marched down the field, where they had the ball on the Northside eight with just 13 seconds to go. Harless elected to try one more play before settling for a tying field goal attempt, and it proved to be a wise decision. James-Ryan Salvi, who was at quarterback because Martin had been banged up earlier in the game, floated a pass to the left corner where only Evan Eller could catch it. He did, and the Botetourt side erupted. Rice kicked the extra point and LB had a 24-20 win. “Eller burned them,” said Harless. “They did what we expected them to do on defense and Eller burned them. And Salvi put it right there.”

Statistically, Hunter Rice finished with 89 yards on 23 carries, Eller had 63 on 10 attempts while Martin had 29 yards on nine rushes and Ethan Clower had 13 yards on four tries. Martin was four of seven passing for 111 yards and Salvi was five of six for 50 and both had touchdown passes. Eller had four receptions for 84 yards and Dewease had three for 74, and both also had TD receptions. With the win LB avenged the prior loss to Northside and is now 6-2, with the other loss coming to unbeaten Blacksburg, the top ranked team in Region 4D. LB has another big home game this week with William Byrd coming to town.

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