You’d think Lord Botetourt football coach Jamie Harless would be in a jolly mood following a 41-28 Lord Botetourt win over Rockbridge last Friday night in Lexington. However, that was far from the case.
Harless was fuming over what he saw as illegal blocks with intent to injure by the host Wildcats. He had one player, Lee Kreider, suffer a knee injury over what he deemed as an unsportsmanlike play and Harless was frustrated that officials chose to ignore his continued pleas to stop what he perceived as illegal blocks.
“It was awful,” said Harless. “They were chop blocking all night and not a single one was called. I had warned the officials before the game because they did the exact same thing last year, and they started cutting our kids on the very first play. They(officials) said they didn’t see them, but I’m just one guy and I saw every one of them.”
Harless pointed a finger at the Rockbridge coaches. He refused to shake hands with Wildcats’ coach Mark Poston following the game.
“The kids aren’t doing that on their own,” said Harless. “In my opinion they’re teaching them illegal blocks to neutralize our advantage on the line, and there’s an inherent danger to that. We play them one more time, and after that we’re never going to play them again as long as Mark Poston is their head coach, and you can print that.”
Botetourt still managed to dominate the game. The Cavaliers led 28-7 at halftime as freshman Hunter Rice scored on touchdown runs of 45, 26 and six yards and Evan Eller hit Kreider with a 31 yard touchdown pass.
Rice had a big night, rushing for 221 yards on 32 carries and scoring five touchdowns, as he ran for two and three yard scores in the second half. Eller had 61 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
The win lifted Botetourt to 4-0 on the season, but days later Harless was still fuming about the illegal blocks.
“Here’s what they ought to do to eliminate it,” he said. “If they catch a player making two or more fouls on film, he ought to be suspended for the next game. And if a team gets three personal fouls during a game, the head coach ought to be ejected. Ultimately, the head coach is in control of what’s going on and if he can’t stop it he ought to be gone.”
THIS WEEK’S GAME
This week the Cavaliers will continue what has been a competitive series against Northside. Lord Botetourt will host the Vikings at 7 pm Friday.
Northside comes in at 2-2 after being shut out by Salem last week, 27-0. However, that game was closer than the score indicates as the Vikings trailed just 7-0 midway through the third quarter and were able to give the Spartans a good game.
This will be the sixth time LB coach Jamie Harless has faced the Vikings, and he’s 2-3 against them so far. One of the wins was a 21-14 win in 2013 in front of a packed house in Daleville as LB upset one of Burt Torrence’s best teams. Torrence left after the 2015 season, a year the Vikings beat LB 8-7 in another nail-biter.
Last year Tyler Brown took over as coach and LB won 28-7, and this year the Vikings have another new coach in Scott Fisher. They throw the ball a lot more than they used to.
“I compare them to Western Albemarle,” said Harless. “They have some big kids and a good football program. We’re going to have to run the ball to beat them.”
This will be the first of two games against Northside this year, as LB had to schedule the Vikings twice to get to 10 games. They’ll play again at Northside on October 20.
KEY TO THE GAME
“We’re going to have to control the line of scrimmage,” said Harless. “They have some big kids on the line and we’re going to have to play well to beat them.”