MINERAL — It was super hero night at Louisa County High School on Friday as the Class 4 Lions faced Class 6 Massaponax in a battle of undefeated teams.
Alex Washington did his best Spider-Man impersonation as he blocked Caron Pugh’s 24-yard field goal attempt with 10.5 seconds left to preserve the Lions’ 28-27 victory.
“We just had to finish,” Washington said. “We knew what it was coming down to, they were going to score or we were going to stop them, and we had to stop them.
“We got the stop.”
In a back-and-forth game, Robert Morgan IV scored from 43 yards out to pull Louisa County (3-0) within a point, 27-26 with 7:54 left in the game. Coach Will Patrick opted to go for two and turned to his senior captain, Jarett Hunter, for the play call.
“Originally the call was a gut call, which is a play to the left,” Hunter said. “But when we got into the huddle, we decided we wanted to do it and go straight power, man on man, so coach said y’all call the play and the two-point conversion worked.”
Hunter followed his blockers and plowed his way in from two yards out to give the Lions a 28-27 lead.
Massapaonax (2-1) didn’t back down and Jacob Carmichael made a big stop on fourth down to give the Panthers the ball at their own 47 with less than four minutes to play. Elijah Christopher carried six times for 33 yards to give the Panthers a second and goal from the Lions’ 7.
The Louisa County defense stopped the fullback trap on the next play and then forced an errant thrown on a play-action pass in the end zone on third down to set up the final play.
On fourth down, Washington found a hole on the right side of the line and headed directly for the kicker. The junior linebacker dove and blocked Pugh’s kick to secure Louisa County’s first win against Massaponax since 2000.
“We had been practicing that play all week,” Washington said. “We knew that side was weak. I asked coached to put me into position and I just tried to make the play for the team. It’s nothing but the team.”
Hunter, who rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown and added a 47-yard touchdown reception, couldn’t have been prouder of his team.
“That play was an amazing play,” Hunter said. “Every day in practice, me, Alex, Noah [Robinson] and Buck [Xavien Hunter] compete. We probably talk the most trash out of the entire team, so when plays like that happen, we acknowledge one another and dap each other up. It was big.”.
Massaponax set the tone early on with a score on its first possession. QB Luke Morley scored from nine yards out with 8:08 left in the first quarter to give the Panthers the early lead.
After a three-and-out on its first possession, Louisa’s offense went to work on the second drive. Kalup Shelton found a big hole and rumbled 75 yards to give the Lions a first and goal from the 8. Hunter scored three plays later from a yard out to give his team a 7-6 lead with 2:17 left.
Morley found the end zone for the second time later in the quarter when he scored from two-yards out to give Massaponax a 13-7 lead with 15.3 seconds left in the quarter.
Much like last week, Louisa County found its groove on the ground game in the second quarter. Following a big defensive stop, Morgan scored from three yards out to give Louisa County a 14-13 lead with 7:53 left in the half.
Later in the half, Lions quarterback Landon Wilson found Hunter on a screen pass on 2nd down and 13 and the senior running back took the pass 43 yards for a touchdown to give Louisa County a 20-13 lead at intermission.
Patrick tried to put the game away early in the third quarter, deciding to go for it on fourth down from inside their own 30. Massaponax’s defense held and the offense answered with a 9-yard run from Elijah Christopher to tie the game at 20-20 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers took the lead with less than 10 minutes in the fourth quarter as Morley followed Christopher for a 2-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal from the 2 to take a 27-20 lead.
That was before Morgan scored his second touchdown of the game and Hunter added the two-point conversion to regain the lead.
Washington said this win was monumental for this team.
“This is huge,” Washington said. “Everyone doubted us, we were the underdogs in this game. We showed the state and everybody what we were about. We’re about hard work and we’re going to finish.”
Shelton rushed for a team-high 108 yards on nine carries to lead Louisa County. Morgan chipped in 57 yards and two touchdowns, while Hunter finished with 79 yards and a score.
Christopher finished with 193 yards and a touchdown to lead Massaponax. Morley, after rushing for 307 yards last week, was limited to 28 yards against Louisa but scored three times.
For Hunter, this was a game he won’t soon forget.
“It was a real dogfight,” Hunter said. “Massaponax is a great team and we knew we needed this test heading into district play, so it will definitely help us out big time. When it’s a close game like this, it’s always satisfying. Winning a game like this lets me know what kind of team we have this season.”