Shaundarious Kimbrough ran for two touchdowns, and defending state champion Lee County recorded its sixth shutout of the season with another stifling defensive effort in a 14-0 victory over Northside-Warner Robins in an all-Region 1 Class AAAAAA final Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The win makes Lee County the first team to win back-to-back championships in the second-highest classification since Northside did it in 2006 and 2007 and the first to finish 15-0 in a season since Creekside in 2013. The Trojans also are the third consecutive state champions from Region 1-AAAAAA, including Valdosta in 2016.
The loss ended a somewhat improbable run through the playoffs for Northside (9-6), which was ranked No. 5 despite a 5-5 regular season and was the only third-place team to reach the finals in any classification.
The Trojans were well off their season scoring average of 43.57 and had their lowest point total of the season (their previous low came in a 24-7 victory over the Eagles during the regular season), thanks in large part to Northside’s improved defense, which had allowed just 8.5 points per game in its first four playoff games after giving up 20.8 during the regular season.
But Lee County was never in serious danger, especially after Kimbrough’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave it a 14-0 lead and some breathing room. The Eagles did not advance beyond their own 41-yard line until their next-to-last drive, which was stopped at the 1-yard line on fourth down with 3:09 remaining. Before that possession, the Eagles had managed just 33 yards of total offense for the game on 33 plays.
The Eagles got the ball back one last time and moved to the Lee County 21, but Jadin Daniels threw an incompletion on fourth-and-15 and Northside turned it over on downs.
“We have the best defense in the state,” Lee County quarterback Kyle Toole said. “That was the best game I’ve ever seen them play. They played their butts off tonight. They have players all over the field, really. They’re really sound at what they do. They never really are screwing up.”
Northside finished with 164 total yards. Daniels, the Region 1-AAAAAA player of the year, had 22 yards rushing on 23 carries and was 9-of-19 passing for 111 yards but was sacked nine times for 44 yards in losses (2.5 of the sacks came from Deangelo Griffin). The shutout lowered Lee County’s points-allowed average to a state-best 5.1 per game.
The Trojans had 203 total yards and eight first downs (Northside had nine). Toole was 6-of-14 passing for 128 yards, and Kimbrough ran for 56 yards on 16 carries.
Lee County had the ball in Northside territory on four of its five first-half possessions but came away with just one score, a 4-yard touchdown run by Kimbrough with 32 seconds to play in the first quarter. An interception at the 1-yard line and two punts ended the other potential scoring opportunities.
Northside finished the half with 25 yards of total offense (all rushing) and two first downs, and three of their possessions were three-and-outs, including two that resulted in negative yardage.
“It feels great,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said. “We went through a lot with [Hurricane Michael] coming through. The kids persevered, and this one is for Lee County.”
Northside – 0-0-0-0 – 0
Lee County – 7-0-0-7 – 14
L – Shaundarious Kimbrough 4 run (Austin Beaver kick), 0:32
L – Kimbrough 2 run (Beaver kick), 11:55
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