The Lord Botetourt football team lost for just the second time this season when the Cavaliers fell to William Byrd last Friday. The Cavs dropped a 42-14 game to the Terriers in Vinton.
The game didn’t start out well for the visitors. William Byrd opened in their “Mad Dog” offense, which has been called the “Muddle Huddle” over the years. The formation finds a center and one back alone on one side of the field with the line and more backs on the other side. The object is to get the lone back in an open field situation, or throw to someone behind the line if the defense loads up on the back receiving the snap.
Byrd put talented Larry Basham behind the center, and he’s about perfect for the situation. Basham frustrated the Cavalier defense as Byrd went right down the field and scored just three minutes and 15 seconds into the game, with the TD coming on a 24-yard “Mad Dog” scramble by Basham.
Botetourt adjusted to the formation as the game went along, but the early hit in the mouth put LB behind the eight ball right off the bat. Then, on LB’s first offensive series, Byrd’s Hunter Meador jumped a route and took a “pick six” interception to the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
“We weren’t fired up to start the game, and I’ll take the blame for that,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “It’s my job to get them motivated.”
Byrd scored on the first play of the second quarter, on a 21-yard pass play, to go up 21-0. At that point the Cavaliers rallied, driving 80 yards for a touchdown that concluded with a 27-yard pass from Preston Martin to Jack Cole. That made it 21-7 with 5:34 left in the half and breathed new life into the Cavs.
The Cavalier defense rose up and stopped Byrd on the ensuing series, and LB returned the punt for an apparent TD. However, a block in the back negated the score and Byrd was able to tack on a six-yard touchdown run by Basham with just 19 seconds left in the half to make it 28-7 at intermission.
That was pretty much the ballgame. Byrd swelled the lead to 42-7 before Hunter Rice ran for a 79-yard TD run late in the game. To that point Byrd had held Rice to 61 yards on 20 carries. Martin was six for 15 passing for 53 yards.
“Friday is what it is,” said Harless. “We had some kids missing and some sickness, but that’s not an excuse. That’s high school football.”
The loss dropped LB to 1-2 in Blue Ridge District games and locked up the championship for Staunton River, who finished 4-0 in the Blue Ridge.
THIS WEEK’S GAME
This week the Cavaliers will wrap up the regular season with a home game against William Fleming. Game time is 7 p.m. in Daleville.
Fleming is having a rough season. The Colonels had high hopes back in August but it hasn’t panned out, as they’re winless after nine tries. Last week Fleming was hammered by Staunton River, 58-0, after falling behind 45-0 at the half.
“Like always, they have some big linemen and some explosive athletes,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “But they’ve had some injuries and some situations you can’t control as a coach. Certainly they have all the ingredients. We’re not taking anyone lightly.”
A win will clinch the second seed in the Region 3D playoffs for LB. Magna Vista is right behind the Cavaliers, and even though Fleming isn’t a valued opponent for “rider points” the Cavaliers will hold onto second if they can finish 8-2.
Staunton River is the top seed, and the Eagles end the regular season at Patrick Henry Friday night. That will be a tough game, but even with an upset by the Patriots, Botetourt won’t be able to pass Staunton River.
“They’ll be one and we’ll be two,” said Harless. “That’s pretty much set in stone as I see it.”
Botetourt needs an impressive win Friday night to “get the swagger back” after the loss to Byrd. They should be able to get it, and when the playoffs start it’s a whole new season.
KEY TO THE GAME
“We have to play like we’re capable of playing this week,” said Harless.