Sunday, August 31, 2008

Single-Wing Lions brave storm

By Shane Mettlen
Published: August 29, 2008

MINERAL – With the stadium packed with fans, a live lion mascot on the sidelines, a fire-breathing lion statue near the end zone and fireworks shooting off in the distance, it was a wild night in Louisa County for Eastern View’s official football debut. And if the Cyclones had recovered a late-game onside kick it would have gotten even wilder.

Louisa County recovered the kick with 1:24 remaining after it squirted away from an Eastern View player and the Lions were able to kneel down and secure a 27-20 victory.

“We gave 100 percent effort on (the onside kick) and we didn’t quit,” EVHS coach Greg Hatfield said. “We played hard until the whistle and I thought that was two pretty good football teams.”

EVHS senior Cody Whitlock completed 15 of 36 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score to lead the Cyclones offense, but it was an efficient passing game combined with a single-wing rushing attack hat helped Louisa pick up the victory.

The Lions struck early. After opening the game with a couple of runs for moderate games, Louisa quarterback Dillon Hollins hit tight end Kerry Wynn for a 66-yard touchdown pass and the Lions led 7-0.

Eastern View had trouble getting its offense going in the first half and went into the locker room at halftime trailing 19-7, but Hatfield was able to fire up his team during the break and the Cyclones opened the second half with a 70-yard drive that took nearly three minutes and cut the lead to 19-14.

“We really challenged ourselves at halftime and talked about playing the way we play,” Hatfield said. “We put some pressure on them in the second half and we outscored them in the second half.”

EVHS looked poised to take the lead in the fourth quarter after a Whitlock completed an 18-yard pass to Matt Case, who hung on after taking a hard hit, and the Cyclones were in Lions’ territory.

But Eastern View lost the ball after Louisa recovered a fumble and took over on the Cyclones 48-yard line. The Lions drove 52 yards and with a two-point conversion extended the lead to 27-14.

The Cyclones got back with in a score after a 34-yard touchdown run by running back Stevie Strother, who was limited to 64 yards on 12 carries by a wet field and a stingy Louisa defense.

“I think the field might have hurt him a little bit,” Louisa coach Mark Fischer said of Strother. “But we had to try to keep him in front of us and try not to let him make us look silly and there at the end he made us look silly.”

Strother’s touchdown came with 1:24 remaining and cut the lead to seven points, but after EVHS failed to recover the onside kick it was essentially over.

“I think there’s a lot of positives,” Hatfield said. “We didn’t play very well in the first half and we made some mistakes offensively, but I was very happy with the way we played in the second half.”

The Culpeper Star-Exponent
471 James Madison Highway,
Suite 201
Culpeper, VA 22701
Louisa County High School
757 Davis HwyMineral, VA 23117

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