By Sports Editor Brian Hoffman
The clock struck midnight on William Byrd’s storybook football season Saturday as
Liberty Christian Academy, a private school playing in the Virginia High School League’s Class
3 tournament, defeated the Terriers in the state semifinal in Lynchburg. The Bulldogs took a 49-
6 win to end Byrd’s season at 12-2, the best season ever for a Terrier team.
This was billed as a “dog fight,” but the Bulldogs dominated the Terriers from start to
finish. With the win LCA remained undefeated and will try to win their first VHSL state
championship against Lafayette in Lynchburg Saturday at Liberty University’s Williams
Stadium. LCA won seven VISAA state championships before entering the Virginia High School
League for the 2015 season.
The Terriers never saw what hit them. LCA scored 28 unanswered points in the first
quarter and Byrd’s only touchdown came when Walter Barrows returned a kickoff for a
touchdown after another Bulldog score with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
Liberty Christian held the Terriers scoreless in the second half and tackled Byrd ball carriers
behind the line of scrimmage nine times in the game.
Meanwhile, Clemson bound running back Gideon Davidson of LCA rushed for 223 yards
and scored four touchdowns. A unique story, Davidson was born in Ghana and lived in an
orphanage after his father died and his mother struggled to provide for Gideon and his brothers.
He was a year and a half old when he and his brothers were adopted by an American family but
given back two years later. He was adopted by the Davidsons in 2011 and took up football after
playing soccer for most of his life. He received his first football offer from the University of
Virginia when he was just in eighth grade, but decided on attending Clemson in June of this year.
For the Terriers, the loss to the private school ended their best football season ever. The
12 wins is a school record and Byrd won 10 games in a row, tying the 1973 Terriers who won 10
in a row in a single season 50 years ago. The Byrdmen won the Blue Ridge District and Region
“This was a historic season for our team, school, and community,” said Byrd coach Brad
Lutz. “Winning football games is very difficult, but to improve from 0-9 to 12-2 in three seasons
The Terriers were 0-9 in 2021 when the current seniors were sophomores. Last year they
improved to 3-7 with roughly the same team as this year. In fact, two of Byrd’s best players in
the 2022 season transferred to other schools.
“Five seasons ago we took on a rebuilding opportunity at William Byrd, and I am so
thankful our players and coaches loved football and our program enough to do what it takes to
win the right way,” said Lutz. “The work and commitment is relentless and very difficult. With
that said, it was incredible to watch our team experience the success we earned this season.
Every day our players made every minute of our season a joy to be a part of. Each week, they
improved and gained confidence that drove them to have the most successful football season in
Lutz expects the success of this year’s team to pay dividends in the future. The Terriers
appear to have a bright future with an undefeated jayvee team and a middle school team that lost
just once. Even the 12 year old team was runner up in the Sandlot Super Bowl.
“Every player in our football program had a hand in the progress we have made in the
last three years,” said Lutz. “Not only have they worked hard, but they have seen the results of
hard work and commitment. They have helped build a blueprint for success, and that is valuable
to everyone involved.
“Our players benefitted from a month of extra practices, and that is extremely valuable in
our growth as a program. Our youth teams, our middle school program, and our junior varsity
team had very successful seasons, so it has been a very successful year for our football family,
and we are very excited the direction we are heading in.”
The Terriers will graduate a senior class that has stuck through the hard times and reaped
the success of this year’s season.
“Words cannot explain the value of our senior class,” said Lutz. “First, they are great
young men away from the game of football. They are great sons, committed students and high
character young men. Those qualities accelerated their success on the football field.
“On the field, I would describe them as program players. They built themselves into a
district and region champion. Their history together and their commitment to each other
strengthened their focus when we experienced difficult times. That made their success even more
rewarding. They left a legacy here that includes a higher standard, and they invested in our
junior, sophomore, and freshman classes, so their impact will be felt for many years to come, and
that makes them unforgettable.”
Lutz also had high praise for the Byrd community. The crowds at the games this year were
among the best in recent years, and when the Terriers played on the road the last two weeks they
had great support, both at the Region 3D championship game at Magna Vista and last week in
“Our team would like to thank our community for the incredible support they showed all
year,” said Lutz. “We are a community based team, and our players take a tremendous amount of
pride representing the people of the William Byrd community.
“At the state semi-final game, our team walked out of the locker room, and it looked like
our entire community had made the trip to LCA. That is a moment and feeling that our team will
never forget. I am very thankful that our players got to experience that. Our community shared
the success that our program earned this year, and we are so grateful for their support.”