Sterling, Va. — Second-year programs are often smaller in numbers and in stature, but that hasn’t stopped the Lightridge High School football team from earning seven wins over their first ten varsity games. The Lightning bear an athletic offense and a hardworking defense, and both played a major role in holding off the Dominion Titans, 20-7, on September 10 in Sterling.
On the opening drive of the game, the Lightning defense stuffed the Titans’ offense forcing a 3-and-out before recovering a punt at their own 30 yard line.
From there, Lightridge senior quarterback Jordan Dorsey quickly got to work, hitting his younger brother Josiah Dorsey with a 22-yard pass to move the Lightning into Titan territory.
After a short run, Dorsey hit junior receiver Cole Lechner with a 9-yard gain before handing the ball off to sophomore running back Christian Morton who went 31 yards down to the Dominion 10. On the very next play, Morton brought the ball down to the one, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by the older Dorsey.
“We’re not as big up front; we’re going to be the smaller team in probably nine out of our ten games this year,” Lightridge head coach Bobby Eavenson, Jr. said. “Having those kids in space that can move around a little bit and open some things up is what gives us a shot to be successful on offense.”
Less than 30 seconds after they took the lead, the Lightning surrendered it as Dominion senior running back Cyrus Williams bounced outside and took it 28 yards down the sideline to tie the game up at 7-7.
After trading punts for the remainder of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, Lightridge got the ball back near midfield with just over four minutes to play in the first half. And right away, Dorsey hit his brother with a big 27-yard completion to move deep into Dominion territory.
A pass interference on the next set of downs set the Lightning up with 1st-and-10 from the 13 with momentum on their side, however, the Dominion defense ended up pushing the Lightning back to the 21 yard line with six seconds left in the half.
Following a timeout, Lechner ran a corner route, boxed out the defensive back, and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dorsey as the clock expired.
With momentum on its side, Lightridge was set to receive the second half kickoff, but muffed it, giving Dominion the ball at the Lightridge 15 yard line.
With their backs up against the wall, the Lightning defense stuffed the Titans, forcing a turnover on downs and regaining the momentum.
“Momentum wise it was absolutely enormous,” Eavenson, Jr. said. “When our defense is fresh, we’re pretty good. We may be a little undersized, but we fly around, and we never stop playing hard.”
Late in the third quarter, the Lightning defense once again stepped up big with a goal line stand, stopping the Titans inside the 1-yard line.
On the ensuing possession, the Lightning slowly but surely moved the ball downfield, eating up more than five minutes of clock, before Morton went for a 55-yard touchdown run to put Lightridge up, 20-7.
“That touchdown let us breathe just a little bit,” Eavenson, Jr. said. “As a play caller, it takes a little stress off you. You don’t feel like you’re one mistake away from losing the game, and it gives you a little bit more freedom to be more aggressive.”
From there, the Lightning buckled down defensively, eventually outlasting the Titans, by the same score, to earn their second win of their sophomore season.
“We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes early, but we always talk to the kids about not blinking no matter what happens,” Eavenson, Jr. said. “You can’t let it affect you. We really did a good job of not letting it affect us tonight.”
|1Q||6:45||Lightridge||Jordan Dorsey 1-yard TD run (Jonathan Suarez PAT)||7-0|
|1Q||6:23||Dominion||Cyrus Williams 28-yard TD run (Alafandi PAT)||7-7|
|2Q||0:00||Lightridge||Jordan Dorsey to Cole Lechner 21-yard TD pass (PAT muffed)||13-7|
|4Q||7:43||Lightridge||Jordan Dorsey to Christian Morton 55-yard TD pass (Jonathan Suarez PAT)||20-7|