Photo: AJC
Photo: AJC

Lee County withstands hurricane, rallies for big win three days later

Last week was a tough one for the Lee County Trojans, the defending state champions and No.1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA.

First came the real-life problems. Hurricane Michael passed through the area Wednesday evening, causing widespread destruction and leaving thousands without water or power in Leesburg, Albany and the surrounding counties. 

After dealing with cleanup for three days, the Trojans had to travel to Warner Robins to face Northside in a game that was pushed back a day to Saturday because of the storm. 

It was the region opener for Lee County, and against the No. 3 team in the state. As one might expect, Lee County started slowly, trailing 7-3 at halftime. But the Trojans rallied for a 24-3 win to improve to 7-0 overall and 1-0 in the region. 

“We didn’t practice after Tuesday due to the storm,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio told Georgia High School Football Daily after the game. “Most of our kids have been without power, a lot without water. Several had to leave town due to their home being unlivable, and we had to track them down and get them back here for the game. Many had been working nonstop cleaning debris and trees or fixing roofs for the past several days. To be able to rally together after all that and get a win is just a great testament to the resiliency of these kids.” 

Lee County took the lead against Northside in the third quarter on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Toole to Daveon Sanders, and Jammie Robinson scored on a 65-yard interception as the Trojans pulled away. It was Lee County’s 13th consecutive victory, the longest winning streak in school history. 

“I’m not sure if I have ever been prouder of a team than I was today,” Fabrizio said. “I don't know how much you have seen of the storm damage in the greater Albany area, but it is pretty bad. To go through what these kids have gone through the last several days and go on the road and get a win over a strong Northside team was really impressive.” 

Now, as the work in the community continues, the Trojans turn their attention to this Friday’s home game against the new No. 3 team, Valdosta, which is the only other 1-AAAAAA team that is unbeaten in region play. The winner will take over control of the region and likely need just one more victory to clinch the title. Valdosta is the last team to beat Lee County, 31-28 last year in what was the only blemish on the Trojans’ championship season. 

Here are three more Class AAAAAA games to keep an eye on this weekend: 

*Centennial at Johns Creek: Centennial and Johns Creek are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Region 7, so the winner will move into first place. Johns Creek won the region title in 2016, and third-place Alpharetta, the Gladiators’ opponent next week, won it last year. Centennial finished in second place both seasons. Johns Creek leads Class AAAAAA in scoring with 42.6 points per game. 

*Creekside at Alexander: Creekside went 0-10 last year, but the Seminoles (4-3, 4-1) are in second place in Region 5 after beating two-time defending region champion Mays last week. Mays is tied for third with Alexander and Northgate, which handed Creekside its only region loss. A win wouldn’t clinch a playoff berth for the Seminoles, but it would keep them in the hunt for a region title. 

*Lakeside-Evans at Grovetown: Either Lakeside or Grovetown will be in first place in Region 3 after this weekend, as they are the only unbeaten teams in region play. Lakeside hasn’t won a region championship since 2009, the only title since the program began in 1988. Grovetown, which opened in 2009, has yet to win one. Grovetown has won two straight in the series after losing the first four.

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