Stephen Collier, right, and the Lee County offense was on the move all night as The Herald No. 3 Trojans scored early and often against the Albany defense to win, 52-13, and improve to 2-0. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LEESBURG — Maybe two arms are better than one.
Lee County is trying to prove it on the field, and the results thus far with a dual-quarterback system have been pretty successful, especially after Stephen Collier and Matt Mears combined to throw for four touchdowns in a 52-13 dismantling of Albany High on Friday at Trojans Field.
In a matchup of two high-powered offenses in non-region play, the Trojans’ found their rhythm early and stifled Indians’ quarterback Emmanul Byrd, who got little help from his receivers, for most of the night.
Collier, the junior starter, threw for three touchdowns and 109 yards, while Mears added 81 yards and one touchdown through the air, blowing the doors off Albany High before the Indians could even find their footing.
“Both of them played really well (Friday),” Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said of the rotation at quarterback. “We’re really pleased with their performance. It’s a luxury that we’ve got two guys we feel like we can win with.”
Collier connected with JQ Quimbley on a 48-yard strike and then found Andrew Stroud twice for scores in the first half, while Mears hooked up with Casey Hightower on a 20-yard score at the end of the first quarter. Lee County led, 28-6, after one quarter and 49-6 at halftime, cranking up the running clock in the second half.
“Everything went right for us,” said Stroud, who caught five passes for 73 yards, including a beautiful 21-yard leaping reception at the goalline in the second quarter.
Neither Collier or Mears threw a pass in the second half, and nobody wanted to bring up the term “quarterback battle” afterword.
“Naw man, we’re just trying to win ball games,” Collier said. “We know that the main goal is to win ball games. It’s not about me and (Mears).”
Albany scored midway through the first quarter when Byrd hit Rantiez Williams on a 21-yard scoring pass to cut the Trojans’ lead to 14-6, but the Indians (0-2) would get no closer thanks to seven dropped passes and 14 penalties.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Albany High head coach Felton Williams said. “We didn’t show up to play in any phases of the game. When you make mental mistakes like that – dropped balls, blown coverages – you can’t expect to win.”
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Greenville High in the season-opener, Williams wanted to see a bounce-back mentality early against Lee County. Instead, he saw Trojans’ freshman Devontae Seay, brother of former Trojan Sanford Seay, take the opening kickoff 80 yards for a score.
It was that kind of night for Lee County (2-0), which has scored 42 and 49 points in the opening half of its first two games and started the night by honoring fallen local Marine and former Lee County football player, Lance Cpl. Steven Sutton, by wearing a patch with his name on the Trojans’ helmets.
“Sometimes when you make plays early, you’re able to take teams out of their rhythm,” Fabrizio said.
Lee County’s Kenneth Hurley, a Herald Dynamite Dozen pick, ran for 75 yards and a touchdown, while Tavarious Hall added another rushing score. Albany’s Byrd was able find Andrico Carter in the third quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass for the lone touchdown in the second half, but it only cut the Lee County lead to 49-13. Byrd finished with 145 yards passing on 11-of-19 attempts with two scores.
Albany will try to right the ship Friday at Mitchell County, while Lee County gets another Dougherty County test at Hugh Mills Stadium against Westover.