It’s should still be early, but it’s really not when you consider the Lord Botetourt football team will hit the halfway mark of the regular season Friday night. With a six-game schedule every game is important in the Virginia High School League ranking system.
After two weeks the Cavaliers look like the top team in Region 3D, and that’s just where they are as they prepare to host William Byrd Friday night. The Cavaliers have a point rating of 24.0, while Byrd, 1-1, is in fourth place in the region at 19.0. Carroll County is second at 3-0 with a 22.0 rating and 2-0 Abingdon is third at 21.0.
The Cavaliers look better on the field than they do on paper. After opening with a 70-6 win over George Washington of Danville, the Cavs laid a hurtin’ on William Fleming in Roanoke last Friday night, 49-6. Both games had a running clock for the second half and the Cavaliers did all their damage in three quarters, coasting home with scoreless fourth periods as the clock ticked continuously.
Last week senior Hunter Rice found the end zone seven times in LB’s win at Fleming. Coach Jamie Harless wasn’t sure if that was a school record but commented, “It’s gotta be.”
Rice scored every touchdown in the game for LB. He had runs of 21- and four-yard scores in the first quarter, then scored four more times in the second period. He had runs of one and two yards, then a 19-yard TD pass play from quarterback Sammy Peery. Then, to assure a running clock in the second half, he returned a Zach Horton blocked punt for a score to give LB a 42-6 halftime lead. Hunter added one more TD in the third period on a 13-yard run and that was the end of the scoring for the game.
“Just a phenomenal effort,” said Harless of Rice. “And make sure you give the line some credit. I’m just as proud as can be about how hard they’re playing.”
Rice finished with 177 yards rushing on 19 carries. Dylan Wade ran eight times for 57 and the LB defense held Fleming to just 17 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Botetourt was four for seven passing for 46 yards as Peery completed three of five and KJ Bratton II was one for two. Horton had three catches for 27 yards and Rice had the other catch. Bryson Harvey was perfect on seven extra points.
This week the Cavaliers are back home to host Byrd in what has become a big rivalry. Last year (2019) the Cavaliers won in Vinton 41-7 in a game that got a little chippy. They met again in the playoffs at LB and the Cavs won 29-7.
Last season was the first year Bradley Lutz was the head coach at Byrd, replacing longtime Terrier coach Jeff Highfill. Harless was just 3-5 against Byrd in his seven years coaching against Highfill.
“They’re a completely different team than what they used to be under coach Highfill,” said Harless. “They have a different defense and a totally different offense. They throw the ball more in one game than coach Highfill would throw it in a season.”