Herald No. 2 Lee barely escapes with win in OT

Lee County WR Josh Cabrera played hero for the Trojans on Friday, hauling in the game-winning TD in overtime to beat Houston County, 34-31.

Lee County WR Josh Cabrera played hero for the Trojans on Friday, hauling in the game-winning TD in overtime to beat Houston County, 34-31.

LEESBURG — Josh Cabrera caught the winning touchdown pass in overtime and then directed the band Friday.

There’s not much the kid can’t do.

“I try,” said Cabrera, who pulled in a wide-open 15-yard score in overtime to pull out a 34-31 win for the Trojans against Houston County.

Afterward, Cabrera stood atop the conductor’s stand and led the Lee County band following the Trojans’ first Region 1-AAAA win. None of the 100 or so Trojans on the field had been through anything like what they had just experienced.

“I didn’t imagine anything like that (would happen),” said senior linebacker Thaddus Carr. “(And I) wish I never had to again. I hope we don’t have any more close games like that.”

Lee County (4-1, 1-1 Region 1-AAAA) led, 28-21, before Houston County’s Taylor Ring scored on a 3-yard run to pull within one point with 12 seconds to play. The Bears lined up to go for two and were stuffed at the one before running back Travis Huttner was pushed into the end zone by a surge of Houston blockers.

Houston was flagged for aiding the runner, and instead of picking up their first win of the season, Bears kicker Hunter Heck tied the game with the point-after. Houston then recovered the onside kick with nine seconds remaining and Ring nearly connected with Daryn Carter for a score in the final seconds, but the ball fell off Carter’s outstretched arms, sending the game to overtime.

“That was as back-and-forth as it gets,” Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said. “It was probably a great game to watch if you’re a spectator, but it was a tough one to coach in.”

Heck booted a 24-yard field goal in OT to put Houston (0-5, 0-2 Region 1-AAAA) ahead, 34-31, after its possession.

After turning the ball over four times in regulation, including twice inside the Bears’ 5, Lee County didn’t waste time in the extra period. Quarterback Matt Mears hit Cabrera in the corner of the end zone on the second play of OT to seal the win.

“They’re a great team, but we’re a good team, too,” said Cabrera, who caught nine passes for 114 yards and two scores. “We made too many little mistakes. It messed us up a whole lot.”

Mears finished with 277 yards passing, completing 23-of-44 attempts and was intercepted twice by Houston’s Dylan Ingram and Tyler Head. Mears hit Casey Hightower on a 3-yard score with 6:35 to play to give the Trojans a 28-21 lead after the point-after was blocked. Hightower caught five passes for 70 yards.

Houston County led 21-16 at halftime thanks in large part to four Lee County turnovers inside the 30. Mears was intercepted at the Bears’ 1 and again at the Houston 25 in the first quarter. Houston also recovered a punt that glanced off a Trojans’ blocker inside the 10 to set up Huffner’s first score.

“We made quite a few mistakes,” Fabrizio said. “We’ve got a young team and we were able to overcome those. We grew up a lot (Friday night).”

Huffner led Houston County with 27 carries for 122 yards and a score. Ring threw for 222 yards on 15-of-35 attempts, including a 69-yard score to Carter. He also ran for two scores.

Thomas Wright, Lee County’s Dynamite Dozen linebacker, ran for 38 yards on three carries and a rushing touchdown. He also had ran in two two-point conversions. Kenneth Hurley led Lee County with 61yards rushing on 10 carries.

The Trojans go to Warner Robins on Friday to face powerhouse Northside Warner Robins.