Louisa County prepares for everything. Which is why when they gave up two quick touchdowns in the second quarter that largely erased their 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the Lions didn’t panic.
“We prepare for everything imaginable, I even prepare them for fair catch free kicks and people don’t even know what that is,” said Louisa coach Will Patrick. “I literally prepare them for every situation they could be in and to see the youth and growth is exciting.”
That preparation paid off as Louisa used a trio of key plays – a field goal by George Albertson, a stop on a two-point conversion attempt and an interception by Donovan Nelson as time expired – to hold on for a critical 30-27 victory over Courtland in the latest installment of The Big Cat Classic.
The Lions jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter with two touchdown passes from Jahiem Jackson to Jaden Davis and Nelson leading the way. Jayden Lee Seaberry got the scoring going with a 22-yard touchdown run.
“We came out firing on all cylinders,” Patrick said. “We came out playing on both sides.”
Courtland refused to go quietly though with a long touchdown catch by Zion Minor and a fumble recovery by Saveyon Deas when Louisa put the ball on the ground. That 14-point swing happened in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter.
“We shot ourselves in the foot there on the fumble and they scored on the fumble,” Patrick said. “We had to make some adjustments.”
Louisa steadied the ship and punched in a critical touchdown near the end of the first half when Lavartell Creasy punched it in from three yards out. Creasy’s hard-nosed run was emblematic of a young Louisa squad that’s going to be looking to constantly improve this season.
“He got stuffed on a couple of plays and I was like, ‘look man, are you going to quit letting them rock you or make a play’ and on that touchdown run he took a shot, bounced off and ran into the end zone,” Patrick said. “That’s challenging a kid to grow up in the heat of the moment and he did it and he’s only a sophomore.”
In the second half, Louisa came up with a stop after a long, clock grinding Courtland drive with their heels on the goal line with 5:03 to play in the third quarter. Then Jackson connected with Nelson again for another long catch and run to set up Albertson’s critical 30-yard field goal.
“I trusted George on the field goal and that was a huge kick,” Patrick said.
Nelson finished with three catches for 132 yards while Jackson went 5-for-7 for 180 yards at quarterback, showing growth at the spot after an extremely run-heavy week one for the Lions.
Albertson’s kick put Louisa up 16, leaving Courtland in the position of chasing points with a little less than a quarter to play. Courtland scored but Louisa’s defense made a big stop on the 2-point conversion, putting the Cougars down by 10.
Courtland scored again to cut the lead 30-27 and then got one more shot with the ball near midfield, but on the final play, the ball ricocheted off Louisa’s Aiden Shaw’s hands and found Nelson waiting for the game-sealing pick.
Louisa will kick things up a notch with a road battle with Massaponax next week.