Lord Botetourt head coach Jamie Harless set out to change the culture of the Cavaliers program when he took over last season. He did just that, getting the Cavs to the playoffs where they lost to William Byrd in round one.
On Friday night the Terriers were on the opposite sideline again as LB tried to finish off a perfect 10-0 regular season and enter the 3A playoffs with plenty of momentum.
Lord Botetourt is in the midst of its best season in school history, sitting at 9-0 coming into Friday night's contest, but they'd have their hands full against a very good 7-2 William Byrd team, who's won the last seven meetings between the two schools.
It was Senior Night for Lord Botetourt, including Josh Leonard, a Cavalier player with Autism who scored a touchdown in last week's game.
LB was on the verge of finishing the regular season undefeated but they'd have to get past a very good William Byrd team first, who had their dynamic duo of Simeon Horstman and LJ Williams back on the defensive side of the ball.
"LJ's our leading tackler on the team so it helps a lot when we got him back there at middle linebacker and then Simeon's a big part of our D-line. He runs our D-line so that helps a lot," William Byrd QB Zac Hill said.
After a scoreless first quarter, LB was on the move. Nick Webb hits Nathan McClelan for a 48 yard gain, getting the Cavs inside the 20. But a few plays later, Chris Thompson on the run, when he was stripped of the ball and Byrd recovered, taking over at the 16.
The Terriers proceeded to drive down the field, and just 3 minutes after the turnover, Zac Hill went in for the 5-yard score, giving Byrd the 7-0 lead.
LB made it in the redzone again but once more they turned it over. Hill is all over Webb's pass and came down with the pick in the endzone. Byrd took a 7-point lead into the locker room.
"They got in the red zone twice and we made two turnovers,” Hill said. “I stripped Chris Thompson then I got the interception on the other one and that was just two big plays for us."
Botetourt though came out of the break with new life. Thompson got the ball and trucked his way in for the touchdown from 15 yards out to tie it at 7 through three quarters.
Byrd churned some clock, keeping the ball on the ground. Dylan Kearney with an 18-yard gain to the 2. And then on the very next play, Hill punched it in for the go-ahead touchdown with 2 minutes to go in the game. LB's last chance pass on 4th down was broken up, and William Byrd held on for the 14-7 win. The Terriers are the only team to beat LB in the regular season.
"I mean the team, we just believe and we know we're good enough to beat anybody if we play our game,” Hill said. “It's really important because now we have a home playoff game. I don't think we know who we play yet but we don't have to go away for the first playoff game now."
William Byrd head coach Jeff Highfill said, "It's huge. I think it'll get us a home game to start with. We're getting a little healthier. It's awful big for the kids and it's a, I don't know how they decide. It gives us a tie in the district which isn't as important as it used to be. We've all got one loss. They've got one and Northside's got one. It was big for the kids. Awful proud of them."