Northside’s Jalen Jackson loses his helmet as he’s tackled by LB’s Hunter Rice.

The Lord Botetourt football team is 3-2 at the midway point of the season after losing a heartbreaker to Northside last Friday. Two undefeated teams have kept the Cavs from being undefeated themselves.

Last Friday at Northside the Vikings pulled out a 27-24 win in a thriller between two Class 3 Blue Ridge District powers. The Vikings kicked two late field goals to pull out the win.

“I thought we had the game won,” said LB coach Jamie Harless. “It was a good high school football game, but we have a lot of stuff we can improve on.”

The Cavaliers took a 24-21 lead on a six-yard TD run by Preston Martin with just over three minutes to play. Northside then drove to the Cavaliers’ 23-yard line where LB stopped them, but Northside kicker Josh Davis booted a 44-yard field goal to tie the game.

Botetourt seemed to get a break when the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, then Martin hit Evan Eller for a 10-yard gain and the Cavaliers were looking at a possible long field goal themselves with kicker Trey Rice warming up on the sidelines. Rice had booted a 50-yarder the week before, so LB was getting close to his range.

However, Martin’s ensuing pass was intercepted and the ball was returned to LB’s 31 with 25 seconds on the clock. A roughing the passer play on LB moved the ball closer and Davis kicked a 33-yarder to win the game. Harless did not fault Martin for the ill-timed interception.

Botetourt defenders tackle Princton Hall.

“It was a kid trying to make a play,” he said. “He thought he saw something.”

The game was back and forth all night. Northside took an early lead when Princton Hall, a transfer from LB, scored on a six-yard run in the second quarter. However, LB led 10-7 at the half when Hunter Rice scored on a hook-and-lateral play and his brother Trey kicked a 44-yard field goal.

The “hook and lateral” worked to perfection. Jake Dewease caught a pass, then lateraled to Hunter Rice who found open room, running 45 yards to the end zone.

“We’ve run that a multiple number of times,” said Harless. “It’s all timing. If you get it right it’s a very effective play.”

Northside regained the lead in the third quarter and led 14-10 going into the fourth. Rice scored his second TD on a seven-yard run but Christian Fisher put the Vikings back up with a 31-yard TD run with just under nine minutes on the clock. LB answered with Martin’s TD and the two field goals followed to conclude a nail-biter in front of a big crowd at Northside.

“We held them to seven points for almost three quarters,” said Harless. “The kids fought to the end. It was nice to play in a game like that.”

Rice finished with 122 yards on 27 carries to lead LB, and Ethan Clower had 39 yards on seven attempts. Martin had 37 on seven and was seven for 14 passing for 125 yards. Evan Eller had three catches for 37 yards and Dewease had 23 on two catches.

The game was the first of two against Northside this year, as the same two teams will play in Daleville on October 19. And, you might expect they’ll play again in the post-season.

“I think that’s a given,” said Harless. “It might be in the second round and it might be later, but I expect we’ll meet in the playoffs.”

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