LEESBURG -- Amnesia anyone?
Lee County could use a dose. No, make that a double dose and wash it down with a bottle of forget-about-it.
Short-term memory never looked better to the kids at Lee County High, where they'd love to forget Friday's 42-7 loss to Northside, Warner Robins.
Sure, Northside is the No. 1-ranked Class AAAA team in the state, and yes those high-flying Eagles have now won 36 games in a row against Class AAAA programs -- and 50 of their last 51 going back to 2004.
It doesn't help the Trojans, who watched their perfect season end in front of a near-capacity crowd in Leesburg, where the home town fans came to see the upset of the decade and left simply upset.
"We didn't come in here expecting to lose 42-7. We came in expecting to win,'' said Lee County's prolific quarterback Justin Walker, who had to run for his life most of night against an unrelenting pass rush that came early and often and from every direction.
Still, Walker threw for 244 yards and a touchdown on the worst night of his life, facing one blitz after another.
"Our whole defensive line and our linebackers did a good job of putting pressure on their quarterback,'' Northside coach Kevin Kinsler said. "That's the best passing attack we've seen all year.''
And that's the best team Lee has seen in this -- or just about any other year. Northside (6-0 and 3-0 in Region 1-AAAA) may not just be the best Class AAAA team in Georgia, the Eagles might be the best team in Georgia. Period. They made it to the Class AAAAA title game a year ago, and look better than ever. They haven't had a close game yet, and may not get one.
Not only did Northside hammer 10th-ranked Lee County (5-1 and 2-1 in Region 1-AAAA) but the Eagles made one big play after another.
"We made some big plays,'' Kinsler said. "(Friday night) was our night.''
Just like the last 36 against Class AAAA teams. It's not a coincidence.
It's a dynasty.
Lee County got bounced. Now the question is can the Trojans bounce back?
"We don't have choice,'' Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said. "Our kids are going to have to bounce back. We're going on from here. We've got four games left.''
Fabrizio probably got his first hint of what kind of night is was going to be on the first play from scrimmage. Walker hit Sanford Seay with a bomb at Northside's 20, but Seay couldn't hang on. Five of Walker's first six passes were dropped, and the other was intercepted by Joe Sturn.
Walker was picked off a season-high three times, but the other two were highlight tape plays by linebacker Deiliouse Jackson, who made a leaping grab with 4:55 left in the third quarter, and the other came from Steven Nelson, who made an acrobatic catch with 10:16 left in the game.
No one had a better night grabbing the ball than Northside's Cartrell Brooks. Brooks, who made a leaping one-handed grab at the two yard line with four minutes left in the half to set up a TD, and he made a running fingertip catch then hugged the sideline for a 60-yard TD on a third-and-seven play in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
Northside burned Lee three times on third and long plays, including a 35-yard TD pass from Briar Van Brunt to Zeddrick Scott on a third-and-15 play with 9:02 left in the first half to lift Northside to a 14-0 lead.
"They hit two third-and-long plays, and that was the difference in the first half, and then they just wore us down in the second half,'' Fabrizio said. "You have to tip your hat to them. We knew going in we couldn't make mistakes. Good teams force you into mistakes. That's what they did.''
Lee County bounced back with a 69-yard bomb from Walker to Seay to close to 14-7 with 7:59 left in the half, but that's as close as the Trojans could get. Northside answered with a 70-yard drive and Shaquille O'Neill (honest, that's his name) scored his second TD of the night.
O'Neill, who scored on a 10-yard run and 2-yard run in the first half, is a brute of a back who battered Lee most of the night, finishing with 130 yards on 20 carries and the two TDs. Van Brunt completed 8 of 14 passes for 156 yards and two TDs and was picked off once.
"They're No. 1 for a reason,'' said Lee County defensive tackle Brett Pressley, who had his moments despite the loss. "They made some key plays, but we kind of beat ourselves. We should have stepped up. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.''
That's the idea for Lee. Just move on from this one.
"Lee County has come a long way,'' Kinsler said. "Lee County has a lot to be proud of. They're going to win a some more football games.''
Just as soon as that amnesia sinks in a little.