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It's official: Lee County's Walker sets state single-game passing record

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

LEESBURG -- Justin Walker admits it.

"It will hit me later, not now,'' he said. "Yeah, 20 years from now I'll look back on it, but not right now.''

They'll be talking about Walker's magical night against Warner Robins for a while. It was one for the ages.

The Lee County quarterback threw for 591 yards in a 48-35 loss, breaking the state record for passing yards in a single game that was set a year ago by Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason, who threw for 552 yards.

Hutson, now at Georgia, also owns the record for total passing yards in a season with 4,523. That's likely out of reach for Walker, who has thrown for 3,177 in 10 games this year.

But then again, he was never reaching for the single game record for the state of Georgia.

"I never thought about it,'' said Walker, who completed 42 of 70 passes and tried to bring Lee County back after the Trojans fell behind 21-0 early. "I was just trying to win the game.''

Even when Walker heard the news, he wasn't floored.

"It wasn't like a wow,'' Walker said. "It was just like, 'I set the state record?' I had no idea until someone told me. I'm not really thinking about it. I'm thinking about this week's game in the playoffs.''

That's one reason the record hasn't hit Walker or even his coaches yet.

"I don't think anyone of us realize what an accomplishment this is'' Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said. "Maybe a year from now, maybe two years from now we'll look back and realize it. But we're in the midst of it now. It's an unbelievable accomplishment. When we look back on this a year or two from now, we will be awed by what a great accomplishment it is. When you think of all the players and all the years they've been playing football in Georgia, and Justin threw for the most yards in a game. You just say, wow!' "

Walker, who is being recruited by Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and West Georgia, according to maxpreps.com, has had a spectacular season.

"He's had a great year,'' Fabrizio said. "It's hard to keep up with all the touchdowns. He's thrown 39 in 10 games. That's astounding.''

Lee County travels to Griffin on Friday for the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs, and it's no secret the Trojans in are the playoffs on the wings of a spread offense that has rewritten history at Lee County, where the team had only five winning seasons until this year.

"It's a result of all the hard work from everyone on the team,'' Walker said of the season and his record.

He has had a monster season, and is completing 60 percent of his passes. Those numbers are even more remarkable because every team Lee County plays knows the Trojans are going to throw the ball, and have put together game plans that include big pass rushes and blitzes.

Still, he has had one big night after another -- even in Lee's three losses.

After losing to Northside, Warner Robins, which has been the No. 1 Class AAAA ranked team in Georgia most of the year, Eagles coach Kevin Kinsler said: "That's the best passing team we've seen all year.''

Now Walker has a state record to go along with helping Lee County to one of its best seasons in history. Walker didn't know how many yards he had last week against Warner Robins.

He never knows.

"I never know what the numbers are and I don't think about them,'' he said. "I'm just trying to win the game. That's what I'm thinking about. I know when I've having a big night and when I'm not having a big night, but I never think about the numbers.

"I knew I was putting up some pretty big numbers (against Warner Robins). I didn't know they were that big. I wasn't thinking about the numbers. I was worried about scoring. You can't just say it was me. My offensive line did a great job and my receivers did a great job. Everybody stepped up.''

Walker said he knew who Mason was when he was starring at Lassiter.

"When I heard I broke his record, I knew who they were talking about,'' Walker said. "The coaches have talked about him and about Lassiter's offense. We do some of the same things in our offense they did, and they told me about that kid at the beginning of the year. They told me how well he did and told me to work hard to be successful like him.''

Walker never thought he would break Mason's record, but the irony is not lost on him.

"It is (ironic),'' he said. "When they told me I set the state record, I really didn't know what to think about it. We've had a great season, and that's what's important. But I can't step back and look at the season -- or look at (the state record) right now. We're going to the playoffs, and that's all I'm thinking about this week. That's what makes all the work worth it.

"My parents are pretty excited about the state record, and a lot of people have been congratuating me. They're pretty excited about it. I'll look back on it later.''