Friday a Must-Win Game for Louisa, CHS

At 3-5 with two games to play, the playoffs are a possibility for the football team at Charlottesville for the first time in a decade.

But head coach Eric Sherry says his team isn't worried about that.

"No, we're talking about Louisa," Sherry said Wednesday, referring to his team's opponent on Friday. "Coach Meeks does a great job down there. They're always well-coached. And we haven't beaten them in many years. So we're just making sure we're focusing on getting better everyday."

Charlottesville hasn't beaten the Lions since a 20-14 win in 2003. Louisa has won the last eight games in the series, by an average of almost 32 points per game.

"A lot of teams have done the same thing while we've struggled, this rough past," CHS junior running back Malik Ragland said. "But we're going into this game with the same mentality as every game. We're going to try to stay focused and play as a team."

"It's motivating us a lot, because we haven't beaten them in a while," agreed sophomore lineman Troy Hughes. "And knowing that if we beat them, it will be one of our huge accomplishments, for all of us. So we're ready to get it done."

Charlottesville enters Friday's game -- voted the Friday Night Endzone "Game of the Week" -- as the No. 8 team in the Region II, Division 3 standings. That would put the Black Knights in the playoffs if the postseason started this week.

Like CHS, the Lions enter Friday's game with a 3-5 record. But unlike the Black Knights, when it comes to the playoffs Louisa is currently on the outside, looking in. Louisa is ranked ninth in the Region II, Division 4 standings, with the top eight teams advancing to the postseason.

But Louisa coach Jon Meeks thinks his team's playoff push started with a 27-22 win over Powhatan last week. Now he hopes it can continue at Charlottesville on Friday.

"You know, two weeks ago you mention the word playoffs and people say that's crazy talk," Meeks said Wednesday. "Now we're sitting at No. 9 and if we win out, we should get in at 5-5."

Meeks also admits that finishing the season on a three-game winning streak would be a "tall task." But his players sound like they're already playing playoff games.

"It's all or nothing. A lot of us play like it could be our last," senior defensive lineman L.T. Farmer said. "Play each pay like it's your last."

"It creates a challenge, and I like that," said junior linebacker Jordan Painting. "It creates that whole mentality of 'we have to win,' so it gives us more focus at practice, I feel."

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