Louisa County is replacing the majority of its starters from last season’s state runner-up team.
But other than a couple of mid-game hiccups, no one who’s watched the Lions through the first two weeks of the season would know that judging from the on-field performance.
A week after rolling to a 35-0 road win at Courtland, the Lions opened up their home schedule at The Jungle with a 45-20 romp over visiting Chancellor before a raucous crowd in their home opener.
“It was jumping tonight, there’s no doubt,” Louisa coach Will Patrick said. “We have the best fans in the state of Virginia.”
Louisa (2-0) jumped out to a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter and got six rushing touchdowns from five different players, including a pair from Jarrett Hunter.
Quarterback Rob Allinder had opened the scoring on the Lions’ second drive with a four-yard run, then Hunter and Kalup Shelton went in from 15 and 10 yards, respectively, to give Louisa a 21-0 advantage with eight minutes to go in the first half. James Payne tacked on a 33-yard field goal before the Chargers got up off the mat.
Crisshawn Scott broke off an 84-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the second quarter, and although a failed two-point conversion put a bit of a damper on the touchdown, Chancellor had some momentum. Scott rushed for 136 yards on 14 carries, far and away Chancellor’s offensive leader on the evening.
Chancellor picked off Allinder on the ensuing drive and Scott turned it into a four-yard touchdown to make it 24-13 with four minutes to go in the half, but the Louisa offense got rolling again and Gabe Cuozzo, who had a big 58-yard reception on a previous touchdown drive, got his chance to taste the end zone and went in from 19 yards out on a reverse to make it 31-13 Louisa at the half.
“We got to halftime and we were a little upset,” Patrick said. “With that pick, we gave them a short field and they punched it in. You can play 50 good plays in a half, but you play two bad ones, you can give up points quickly.”
Chancellor got the ball to start the second half and made that mood slightly worse with eight minutes to go in the third when Kim Carruthers hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Trevin Edwards on fourth-and-12 to cut the margin to 11 again.
But that was the last that was heard from Chancellor’s offense.
“The defense played great,” Hunter said. “Everyone was talking, communicating, filling their holes. That’s why we got stops down the stretch.”
Louisa churned downfield following that touchdown with their classic methodical rushing attack, and Robert Morgan’s eight-yard scamper just before the third-quarter gun gave them a comfortable margin yet again, with Hunter converting the two-point conversion. Hunter got his second touchdown with 5:25 to go on a four-yard rush as the Lions turned all but one of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
The Lions controlled the ball, racking up 27 first downs to 11 for the Chargers. Shelton led the way on the ground, carrying 12 times for 115 yards while Hunter carried 15 times for 87 yards for Louisa.
“We overpowered them on the offensive line,” Hunter said. “We got good drive in the trenches and all the running backs had to do was find the hole.”
Louisa will face King George at home next Friday at 7:30 p.m.