LEESBURG — Nikko Cruz didn’t have to run far to put a bunch of points on the scoreboard.

The Lee County fullback didn’t break any big runs or grind together a three-digit yardage total in Friday’s game against Americus-Sumter. But the senior made the most of short-field situations, calling his own number out of the Wildcat deep in opposing territory.

Cruz wound up with an incredibly successful night in terms of scoring production. He racked up five touchdowns, four in the first quarter alone, as the Trojans (4-0, ranked first in the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class 6A poll) rolled to a 49-14 victory.

“Nikko has improved tremendously since last year,” Lee County quarterback Jase Orndorff said. “All he’s doing is benefiting our team.”

Finishing with 80 yards on 17 carries, Cruz had a pedestrian 4.71 yards-per-carry average Friday. But Cruz saw plenty of action out of the Wildcat early on, with interceptions on Americus-Sumter’s first two drives leaving Lee County deep in Americus-Sumter territory.

All four of Cruz’s first-quarter touchdowns came in the final seven minutes of the quarter. He added a 4-yarder midway through the fourth.

“(Lee County’s defense) set us up in the right place,” Cruz said. “They put us in short yardage, and I had to take it. I had to put it in the end zone.”

Americus-Sumter (1-2) kept things close for a half, thanks in large part to the play of the Panthers’ Kobe Lewis.

The senior answered Cruz’s second touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. He added a 7-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter.

For the most part, however, Lee County controlled the evening.

As has been the case in other games this year, Lee County enjoyed a positive turnover margin. While the Lee County defense had those two early interceptions, the Trojans’ offense did not turn the ball over the entire night.

Shaun Kimbrough (14 carries, 113 yards) had an 18-yard scoring run four minutes into the second half to give Lee County a 35-14 lead.

Orndorff completed 13-of-19 passes for 194 yards and a score, an 18-yard touchdown pass to Josh Asbury in the second half.

“Offensively we didn’t turn the ball over any (Friday), and defensively we were able to get turnovers,” Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said. “That’s always a big thing.”

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Sports Editor of the Albany Herald since July 2017. Previously with the Macon Telegraph (2006-17) and the Northwest Florida Daily News (2001-06).

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