Lee closes season on five-game losing streak

Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio team's finished 4-6 one season after making the playoffs.

Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio team's finished 4-6 one season after making the playoffs.

LEESBURG -- The 2011 season didn't go the way Lee County wanted it to go. Friday night's season finale was just icing on a really sour cake.

Warner Robins, the No. 2 playoff seed from Region 1-AAAA, sent the Trojans into the offseason with a 56-14 loss one year after a struggling Demons team had beaten a playoff-bound Lee County squad.

If Lee was looking for revenge, the Trojans knew it wouldn't come after just five minutes of this one.

Warner Robins' Jalen Rountree intercepted three Matt Mears' throws in the first half, scored on a 20-yard reverse and returned one of his picks 21 yards for a touchdown to blow the doors open.

When Demons' receiver Cartrell Brooks scored on a 17-yard strike from quarterback Ty Odom with 7:47 to play in the first quarter, Warner Robins took a 28-0 lead and was ready for the playoffs.

"We were in the same position last year," Demons head coach Brian Way said. "They had already clinched a playoff spot and we were awful. We ended up beating them. We told our kids they were going to try to repay us. I thought our kids responded well."

Warner Robins (8-2, 6-1 Region 1-AAAA) will play host to Lakeside-Evans in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs next week. Lee County, which turned its program around last season and went to the postseason, never could find the big region wins it pulled out a season ago.

The Trojans end their season on a five-game losing streak after starting 4-1.

"They're really peaking right now," Trojans coach Dean Fabrizio said of Warner Robins. "We didn't play well, but a lot of that was due to the fact that they made us play poorly. I wish we could have ended on a better note for our seniors. They have really brought this program a long way and we're sure going to miss them."

Mears' four interceptions, some of which weren't his fault, and a fumble doomed Lee County in the first half. Mears finished with 138 yards passing on 10-of-20 passes and one touchdown to Josh Cabrera that cut the Warner Robins lead to 28-7 before Brian Sutton's 19-yard scoring run increased the Demons' lead to 35-7 to end the first quarter.

Dede Wright, who finished with 83 yards on four carries, scored twice in the second quarter on runs of 19 and 50 yards put Warner Robins ahead 49-7 at the half and started the mercy clock early.

Demons tailback Stephen Cross ran for 76 yards on six carries and scored the first touchdown at the 10:12 mark of the first quarter. Warner Robins rolled up 297 yards rushing, 236 coming in the first half.

"We've still got a long way to go," Way said. "I think we've got a chance to make a little run in the playoffs. It's going to be exciting."

It was demoralizing for a Trojans' defense that gave up 44 points per game in region play after starting the season red-hot before finishing 4-6 and 1-6 in region play. It wasn't the way Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Thomas Wright, a senior linebacker, wanted to go out.

"It's your last one, so you have to give it your all and that's what I did," Wright said. "I went hard for my team so I could leave a lasting impression. (The program) is coming back up. We've got some good leaders coming back next year that will learn from this year."

Cabrera, a sophomore, finished with eight catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns for Lee County, which loses six starters on defense and five on offense. Quarterback Stephen Collier played the second half and threw for 84 yards on 7-of-17 passing. Drew Carr also had 60 receiving yards. Kenneth Hurley ran for 58 yards on nine carries.