COLUMBUS -- After three easy non-conference wins to start the 2011 season, Herald No. 1 Lee County got into the meat of its schedule Friday night against Northside Columbus, losing a heartbreaker, 18-11, on the road to fall to 3-1.
Northside put its offense on the back of talented quarterback Jalen Lacey at Kinnett Stadium and the senior did not disappoint the crowd. Lacey was responsible for all three Patriot scores -- two on the ground and one through the air as Northside moved to 4-0 with an 18-11 region win over Lee County. The Patriots avenged a 2010 loss to the Trojans and remained unbeaten after four games for just the second time in the school's 10-year history.
Lee County came out strong on its first possession, riding the arm of quarterback Matt Mears, who completed all five of his passes during a 66-yard drive which was capped by his 11-yard scoring strike to Andrew Stroud. The Trojans then surprised the home-standing Patriots by going for two and Mears hit Josh Cabrera with a perfect toss to make it 8-0 just under four minutes into the game.
But the Patriots then took advantage of a Trojan miscue to get their first score. After forcing a punt by Stroud which may have been partially blocked, the ball traveled just 8 yards past the line of scrimmage. As everyone moved away from the ball, Patriot linebacker Tyler Pouliot raced over and picked up the loose ball, catching the Trojans by surprise. He was pulled down 20 yards later at the Lee County 20 yard line, setting up the Patriot offense in the red zone. Lacey wasted little time as he found a hole on a read play and danced past a couple of defenders for the 20-yard score. Chase Auer's point-after kick was blocked and the Trojan lead was 8-6 with 3:36 left in the opening period.
The Patriots would take the lead on the third play of the second quarter -- again after a Trojan mistake. This time a fumble by the visitors put Northside in business in Trojan territory. Beginning at the 43, Lacey had a 19-yard run on second down, and then skirted around right end and out-ran the defense for a 24 yard touchdown scamper. The try for two was smothered but the Patriots took a 12-8 lead with 11:37 left in the half.
Lee County put together a drive after the ensuing kickoff and appeared poised to score. The big play on the drive was a 29-yard strike from Mears to Brandon Padon to the Patriot 19. After an offside penalty moved the ball closer, Labarrius Turner picked off a Mears pass at the seven yard line to end the threat. The Trojans would get the ball back late in the half and got as close as the Patriot 25 before failing on a fourth down play.
Lee County (3-1, 0-1) hosts Houston County next week.
DEERFIELD 41, BRENTWOOD 12: Deerfield head coach Allen Lowe lit a fire under his team after the Knights' only loss of the season three weeks ago to Stratford -- and it appears to still be burning.
The GISA Class AAA defending state champion Knights won their third game in a row Friday night with a 41-12 romp against Brentwood, going ahead 20-0 at halftime and never looking back.
Gaughf Ivey scored DWS' first two TDs on 10- and 5-yard runs, while QB Dallas Margeson -- who finished 10-for-16 for 146 yards and one score -- found Rich Fallaw from six yards out to go into the locker room with all the cushion they'd need.
"Yeah, we've been playing pretty solid since that loss," Lowe said. "We know we still have a long way to go, but we've made a lot of positive strides since that ball game."
Kh'Ron McClain opened the second half with a 60-yard run for a TD, followed by 1-yard TD runs from KE'Marvin Pitts and James Tyson. Tyson finished with 42 yards on five carries, Ivey had four carries for 35 yards and McClain had 63 yards on just three carries. Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Quentin Heard didn't score, but he carried the load, rushing for 64 yards on 10 carries. Fallaw also finished with four catches for 36 yards, and McClain had one for 48 yards.
The win improves Deerfield's record to 4-1 overall, while it remained a perfect 3-0 in Region 3-AAA after the non-region win Friday.
TERRELL ACADEMY 41, CRISP ACADEMY 20: After three tough non-region losses to open the season, Eagles coach Bill Murdock had a message for his players before Friday's 3-A opener against Crisp.
"I told them everyone is 0-0 at this point and that we lost to three pretty tough teams," Murdock said. "And not to hang their heads and go out and play hard."
That's what TAE (1-3, 1-0) did from the opening whistle, building a lead behind two Todd Beavers touchdown runs (1 yard, 16 yards) and never looking back. Josh Waldrip added an 11-yard TD run before halftime, followed by a 6-yard score. But the big highlights of the game came when Josh Brunswick returned a kickoff 75 yards for a score, which was immediately followed by a 79-yard KO return by Crisp.
"Crisp is a much-improved team, but we played a lot better defensively and we saw a dramatic improvement from the first three weeks," Murdock said.
Grey Rowe capped the scoring for TAE with a 16-yard scamper into the end zone, and Eagles QB Chris Rogers finished 15-for-21 passing for 160 yards.
SHERWOOD 44, TRINITY CHRISTIAN 13: Sherwood was finally able to get in the win column thanks to receiver Vashon Gaines, who had an outstanding night with five catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Reshad Davis also did damage in the return game, tallying five kickoffs for 142 yards -- including one 82-yard score.
Teon Stewart led the way defensively with eight tackles and two sacks, followed by Joshua Dixon with seven tackles.
"We were excited to get in the win column; all the hard work paid off, and we're looking forward to the weeks ahead," SCA coach Otis Covington said.
Sherwood (1-4) is now 1-2 in region play and returns to play again in two weeks at Bulloch Academy.
PELHAM 28, RANDOLPH-CLAY 20: Despite a big halftime lead of 21-0 and a late surge by Randolph-Clay, Pelham was able to close out the game thanks to Brandon Bostick, who notched a 60-yard touchdown to help the Hornets move to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 1-A. Pelham also got two scores by Denzell Jackson.
Randolph-Clay began its comeback after a score by Cornelius Bennett for 15 yards. A defensive stand led to a 20-yard pass for a score, making the game 21-14. R-C then pinned the Hornets back deep on third down, but a horse collar penalty broke momentum and Bostick added the late cushion the Hornets needed. Pelham's C.J. Drake hauled in an interception late to seal the game.
"Our kids practiced extremely hard and came out playing great after the lighting delay," said Pelham coach Frankie Carroll. "I'm just proud of the kids, fans and coaching staff."
Pelham faces Miller County on the road next week, while Randolph-Clay (2-2, 1-1) travels to Stewart County.
SEMINOLE COUNTY 73, DALEVILLE (ALA.) 28: In a rematch of a game that was called due to a fight between the two teams a year ago, this time "things were clean -- real clean," said Seminole County coach Alan Ingram.
Especially for the Indians.
Seminole piled up a school record 73 points in Friday's rout as Herald Dynamite Dozen selection Chris Brown ran wild, scoring three times on the ground -- with a long of 70 yards -- and two times in the air. Brown finished with 195 yards rushing and 121 receiving thanks to an equally big night from Indians QB Antwan Buggs, who passed for 150 yards and two scores and rushed for 71 yards.
"It was a good game (after what happened last year)," said Ingram, whose Herald No. 2-ranked team improved to 4-1 and has now won four in a row since losing its season opener to state-ranked Wesleyan. "The teams and coaches met before the game, and we just had a real clean, friendly ball game."
Seminole led, 49-21, at halftime, and never looked back. RB Barren Rambo finished with 165 yards and two TDs with a long of 40 as Seminole now gets set for a Region 1-A showdown next week at home against defending champ Mitchell County.
SOUTHLAND 36, TIFTAREA 15: Southland downed Tiftarea, 36-15, on Friday night to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in region play.
After leading 14-7 at halftime, the Raiders were able to pull away thanks to Southland's rushing attack that was highlighted by a total of 281 rushing yards and 4 TDs. Clay Oxford had 15 carries for 96 yards and Logan Dethridge went for 72 yards. Defensively, Southland was led by Tyler Norton with 10 tackles on the evening, five of which were solo.
"It was a well-played game by both teams," said Southland coach Tim Goodin. "We controlled everything on the offensive end."
Southland returns to action again next week against Bulloch Academy.
WINDSOR 29, RANDOLPH SOUTHERN 0: The Patriots failed to score Friday in a game that was called early due to severe weather. The Patriots fell to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in region play.
No further stats were available.
MITCHELL COUNTY 50, STEWART COUNTY 6: The Eagles blew out Stewart on Friday at home to improve to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in Region 1-A.
No further stats were available.
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer sports writer Mike Peacock and Albany Herald sports editor Danny Aller and staff writer Chris Walton contributed to this report