Lake Taylor QB Jeff Foster (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
King George is forging new territory while Lake Taylor is right at home
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
King George (8-0) at Lake Taylor (6-0) Norfolk, 2:00 p.m. Saturday
Last week, the King George Foxes won their first regional championship in football in 26 years.
Last Friday night, Lake Taylor’s win over Churchland gave them a regional championship win over the Truckers for the second season in a row and their third Region 4A title in a row.
The Titans are the reigning VHSL Class 4 state champions and they won three state championships last decade.
That makes for an uphill climb for the Foxes.
Two undefeated teams coming into a game this late in the playoffs almost always yields a good game.
King George continues to rise
Last week’s game against Monacan was billed as an aerial battle waiting to happen. Quarterbacks Charles Mutter and Tyler Hensley were pitted against each other, and for good reason, the defenses keyed on that.
Instead of lighting up the sky, Mutter and the Foxes took what the defense gave them and went to a ground attack. The 28-21 King George win was narrow. Mutter finished the night with 198 yards and one touchdown through the air, but was Mutter’s two scores on the ground that propelled the Foxes over the Chiefs.
“We tried to take what they could give us,” explained King George head coach Vern Lunsford.
Lake Taylor’s defense could be key
While Monacan may look to throw the ball first despite last week’s result, Lake Taylor invites opposing quarterbacks to find a receiver before they’re sacked. The typical defensive set for the Titans is what they’ve called “Three”. That’s man-to-man coverage on the wideouts, and they’ll otherwise stack the box and try to reach the ball within three seconds. That doesn’t give the quarterback much time to react, and it doesn’t give a play any time to develop.
Against Varina in 2019, draw plays and misdirection doomed Lake Taylor. They learned from that loss and won a state championship.
Quarterback Jeff Foster is a four-year starter and he’ll command the veer-option offense well. That means that King George needs to figure out what’s coming quickly.
What to expect
If Mutter can find his receivers quickly, the Foxes may be able to make calculated marches down the field. Don’t expect the big play to blow the game open. Clock control will keep the Titan defense on the field and might force some mistakes.
Lake Taylor’s offense could be tough to stop. The Foxes limited Monacan to 21 points, but the Chiefs’ offense presented a different challenge. King George gave up 29 points to Courtland in a 52-29 blowout win, and otherwise, they haven’t given up more than three touchdowns in a game.
The Titans have been averaging over 33 points a game and the only time they were kept to three touchdowns was in an odd lapse against Booker T. Washington where Lake Taylor won 20-16. No other team has done better than to get within two scores of the Titans.
– Andy Hilton