Lord Botetourt will conclude the regular season football schedule at Staunton River Friday night, and most likely the Cavaliers have the top seed in Region 3D in hand. Botetourt has a healthy lead in the Virginia High School League ratings after defeating Franklin County on a last second field goal in Daleville last Saturday night, 24-21.
Franklin County is a Class 6 school, good for extra VHSL points, and the Cavaliers also picked up some “rider” points for the five games the Eagles previously won. That gave LB a rating of 28.2, over three points higher than Bassett at 25.1. It’s unlikely the Bengals can make up that difference even with a win in their game at 8-1 Martinsville this week. The Bulldogs are a Class 2 team.
The Cavaliers put themselves in the catbird’s seat last Saturday and it wasn’t easy. Botetourt had to overcome more than a stout Franklin County team as sickness was going through the high school like “crap through a goose,” to quote the late General George Patton. LB had upwards of 200 students out of school due to sickness at times last week and the administration asked the game be moved from Friday to Saturday, which Franklin County agreed to.
“Obviously there were still lingering effects,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “The flu and that respiratory infection had 25 percent of our students out of school one day last week.”
Once the ball was finally teed up, it was a heck of a game. LB scored first on a 45 yard pass from Jakari Nicely to Cade Lang, then took a 13-0 lead on a three yard run by Tristan Overbay, missing the extra point attempt. The Eagles scored before the half to cut the lead to 13-7 at intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter Nicely gave LB a 21-7 lead on a 12-yard TD run, followed by a two-point conversion by Jakari. But the Eagles didn’t give up, scoring on two TD passes to tie the game. The second was a 47-yard connection followed by a successful two-point conversion as Franklin had missed the extra point on their prior touchdown.
Botetourt’s defense held the Eagles on their next possession and, after a punt, LB had the ball with 46 seconds left on their own 37. Nicely found tight end Kendal Howard over the middle for a couple big gainers and LB quickly moved 40 yards in 40 seconds to the Franklin 23 yard line with just five seconds on the clock. Harless still had a time out in his pocket but opted to go for the field goal, and Dean Webb drilled a 40 yarder to win the game.
Nicely finished with 148 yards rushing in 25 carries and he was 11 for 17 passing for another 138 yards, giving him 286 yards of total offense. Overbay had 68 yards rushing and Zion Woody had 27. Lang had three receptions for 59 yards while Howard had two catches for 27 stripes, Tuck Brookman had two for 24 and Andrew Gilbert caught two balls for 20 yards.
With the win LB improved to 8-1 on the season and the Cavs will take an eight-game winning streak to Moneta this Friday. Staunton River is much improved with a 5-4 overall record and they’re coming off a tough 28-27 loss to William Fleming last week. Lord Botetourt has won the last four meetings with Staunton River, including a 70-7 thrashing in Daleville last season.
“They’ve lost some close games but they’re a hard-nosed football team,” said Harless of the Eagles. “They have good size, good speed, and they’ll get after you.”
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