Lee County’s Willie Kelly (16) is chased by Bainbridge’s Calvin Isom (57) and Craig Cooper (2) Friday night at Trojan Field in Leesburg. Kelly and The Herald No. 1 Trojans put the finishing touches on their regular season with a win against Region 1-AAAAA rival Bainbridge. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
LEESBURG — It took three plays for Lee County to make an offensive statement.
Quarterback Stephen Collier hit wide receiver Devontae Seay on a 28-yard slant touchdown pass moments into Friday night’s game, and the Herald No. 1 Trojans ran away with a 38-14 victory over Bainbridge at Trojan Field.
That means Lee County, which hasn’t played host to a postseason game since 2005, will be at home in the first round next week. With Harris County’s upset of Thomas County Central, Lee County wins the Region 1-AAAAA title.
After the game, Lee officials were sorting out the playoff seedings, while its fans and players proclaimed themselves as “Region champions.”
Bainbridge, who earned the region’s fourth seed, will be on the road to face former region foe Ware County, which captured the Region 3 championship by going unbeaten in its region.
Harris County’s upset of TCC created a three-way for first. The tie-breaker was points allowed in region, which Lee County won to take top honors. Harris finished as the second with TCC slipping to third. Lee will play host to Effingham County in the first round next Friday.
The Trojans (9-1, 4-1) played perhaps their best all-around game of the season. Collier fired four touchdown passes and ran for another, its defense kept Bainbridge corralled and created a turnover which set up a score, while its special teams unit blocked a punt to set up another score.
The Trojans will roll into the playoffs having won its last three games against Harris County, Northside-Columbus and Bainbridge by a combined 137-21.
“Coach told us that either we win and play at home (in the playoffs) or we lose and play three hours away,” junior Kirvan Davis Jr. said. “There’s nothing like playing at home in front of our fans.”
After Collier hooked up with Seay, Michael Langston booted a 31-yard field to give the Trojans a 10-0 first quarter lead.
Then with 4:45 left in the first half, Collier tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to JQ Quimbley to make it 17-0 at halftime.
The way Lee County was playing on defense, one had to figure Lee County’s 17 points were enough.
“Our kids knew what was at stake,” Lee coach Dean Fabrizio said. “I was real proud of our guys. But give credit to Bainbridge … there was no quit in those guys.”
The Bearcats (5-5, 2-3) did mount a comeback on its first possession of the second half. Quarterback Preston Norris hit Greg Cooper on a 55-yard pass pass to move Bainbridge to the Trojan 2-yard line. On the next play, Aaron Calloway scored on a 2-yard run to make it 17-7.
But midway through the third, Jamal Gardner’s 49-yard scamper set up Collier’s 1-yard plunge to extend Lee County’s lead to 24-7.
Then, Da’Quaun Jamison blocked a Bainbridge punt, setting up Collier’s 21-yard touchdown toss to Seay to make it 31-7.
Lee’s Jalen Bush recovered a fumble, returning it inside Bainbridge territory to set up Collier’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Quimbley to provide the clincher with 9:52 left.
Calloway added his second touchdown run with less than two minutes left on a 10-yard run.