STILL PERFECT: Late interception lifts Herald No. 1, unbeaten Lee County past Houston, 45-42, in 1-AAAA shootout

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

WARNER ROBINS -- The Leesburgwagon is still rolling, but the wheels almost came off Saturday night against Houston County.

Kenneth Hurley's interception with 38 seconds remaining in the game denied a Bears comeback and secured the Trojans' 45-42 win in a GHSA Region 1-AAAA barn-burner at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.

"It feels really good to get a win," head coach Dean Fabrizio told The Herald by telephone on his way back from Houston. "But we were really disappointed we were up 35-7 and let them back in the game. That's something we're going to work on this week -- focus. We didn't quit though, and fought until the end, so it was big to get a win (on the road)."

Houston (4-1, 1-1) got down to that 28-point deficit after Lee County quarterback Justin Walker threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter.

But Houston rallied, scoring 20 points in the final four minutes of the third quarter to close its deficit to 35-27 entering the fourth quarter.

"We knew when we were up at half they weren't going to quit," said Fabrizion, whose program will hang on to The Herald's No. 1 rank in the Fab 5 Poll for at least one more week after the win. "My hat's off to them, they really fought the whole time."

Houston County had the ball trailing 38-35 with 4:52 left in the game. Lee County's Andrew Stroud intercepted a Tyler Hall pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown that gave the Trojans a 45-35 lead. But back came the Bears. Hall hit Daryn Carter for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 3:06 remaining to pull the Bears back to within three points at 45-42.

Houston's defense forced a Lee County punt and the Bears took possession at midfield with 1:10 left in regulation, but was picked off by Hurley at his own 30 two plays later.

"We lost momentum there," said Fabrizio, whose team is now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in region. "So it's a credit to our kids that we made a big play with the interception to seal the win."

The two teams combined for over 800 yards of passing offense, as Walker completed 39-of-57 passes for 498 yards on the evening, but was intercepted twice in the third quarter.

Trojans receiver James Terrell had 10 catches for 119 yards and three touchdowns -- all in the first half -- and Sanford Seay caught 13 balls for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Denzel Eckles added eight catches for 115 yards.

The 105 pass attempts -- Terrell completed one on a double pass -- led to the game taking over 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Lee County now preps for another huge game against Northside, Warner Robins (5-0, 2-0).

"That'll be a big one," Fabrizio said. "They're the No. 1 team in the state, so it'll be a monster (night) in Leesburg."


Macon Telegraph sports writer Chris Deighan and Herald sports writer Daniel Kay contributed to this report