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Ready for a shootout?

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Don't think there's a rivalry between Lee County and Terrell County? Check your geography, or better yet, check your text.

"There has been a lot of texting back and forth from players from their team and players from our team,'' Lee County defensive tackle Calvin Johnson said. "It's text wars.''

Lee County quarterback Justin Walker was blunt.

"It's a good rivalry,'' he said. "Both teams talk smack.''

It's a game tonight between two teams on different paths. Class AAAA Lee County (2-0) is off to a torrid, perfect start against smaller teams, while Class A Terrell County (0-2) is playing a brutal early season schedule.

The Greenwave's schedule included an opener against Class AAA Monroe and tonight's game against a school four times its size in Lee County. The idea is to play tough competition to get ready for a run in the region race, and beyond.

"If you want to be able to beat the good teams, you have to play the good teams,'' Terrell County coach William Huff said Thursday on the eve of the showdown. "I feel like this is preparation (for the region). That's my thought on it. I could be wrong.''

Terrell County is coming off a painful Region 1-A loss to Seminole, which scored on a 20-yard pass with nine seconds left to beat the Greenwave, 32-28, last week.

"It was a tough loss,'' Huff said. "We tried to put it behind us as quickly as we could. We've got young kids on this team and some older kids without a lot of experience. I'm sure the level of heartbreak was different from one kid to another. But we got back on track and came in Monday with our minds on Lee County.''

Huff knows what to expect.

"A high-powered offense, a team with big-play ability, and a team with a lot of speed at the skill positions,'' Huff said of the Trojans. "They're very well coached and they execute well.''

One more thing: No one scores like Lee County. The Trojans (2-0) have scored more points (105) in their first two games than any team in Georgia, and the first team has yet to play a full game. They played one half against Baconton Charter and a little more than a quarter against Crawford.

That will change tonight. Lee County will need four quarters against Terrell County. The Greenwave has speed and some offensive weapons of their own, and one of the top free safeties in this part of Georgia in Tray Stephens.

That gives this game one of the best matchups anywhere: Lee County quarterback Justin Walker, who has completed 15 of 20 passes for 392 yards and eight TDs without an interception, against Stephens, who had nine interceptions a year ago and picked off two passes in the opener against Monroe. Both are Herald preseason Dynamite Dozen selections.

"He's a good athlete,'' Walker said of Stephens. "He made the Dynamite Dozen.''

But Stephens can't be everywhere, and Walker has more than one target. James Terrell has caught seven passes for 118 yards and two TDs, and Sanford Seay, who led Region 1-AAAA last year in receptions, has caught four passes for 165 yards and three TDs, including a 65-yard TD reception from Terrell. Seay scored four times last week against Crawford on two receptions, a short run and a kickoff return.

Lee County's hurry-up offense has put up some staggering numbers. The backup quarterback Matt Mears has thrown for 200 yards, and the Trojans have produced 1,039 yards of offense, including 585 yards last week.

It could be a wide open game.

"Terrell County has some real quality athletes. They've got some high level kids, and they're very well coached. They're a scary team,'' said Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio, who took over the program last year.

Lee had won just two games over the last two years and only five since 2006, so the 2-0 start is doing wonders for the confidence of the players.

"It feels real good to be 2-0,'' Johnson said. "Now you can walk with your chest out. You can walk around with a little swagger.''

Walker added: "We've been needing that, needing a little bit of swagger.''

A 3-0 start would just add to the swagger, but Terrell County can score, too, and it might be a shootout. Greenwave quarterback Jekerious Scott rushed for 112 yards on eight carries and ran for two TDs and threw for two more against Seminole, and Huff's Wing-T offense has three running backs who can get the job done: Fullback Alvin Brown and running backs Basheer Rogers and Jacoby Callaway.

"We're a running team and all three get the ball, and all three have played consistently well,'' Huff said. "They don't complain when they don't get it and they block for each other. Whatever is working, that's what we go with.''

Lee has the edge in the overall series all-time, 12-6-2, and has won the last three games, but they haven't played each other since 2005. Terrell County agreed to play the next two years at Lee.

"We signed our first three games against teams that would play us here both years,'' Fabrizio said. "We're in a region where we have to travel so much -- the closest game is an hour away -- that we wanted to give our fans more home games.''

It will be a big night for other reasons, too.

Trip Block, an 18-year-old senior at Lee County, will be one of the team captains going out for the coin flip. Block, who has been an inspiration to just about everyone at Lee County, was born with spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair.

Also, D'Vontrey Richardson, a former quarterback and baseball star at Lee County and FSU who is now in the minor leagues with the Brewers, will also be at the game.

"It's a rivalry and we're expecting a big crowd,'' Fabrizio said. "We're not worried about the games down the road. We're trying to win now. We're just trying to get better week to week.''