MACON — It wasn’t always pretty, but it was enough to get the job done for Lee County.
Playing under the bright lights of Five Star Stadium on the campus of Mercer University in the season-opening Corky Kell Classic, the Trojans edged out Jones County 20-13 in a regionally televised game on Fox Sports Southeast.
“We kind of let them off the hook a few times,” Lee coach Dean Fabrizio said. “I think we relaxed, we thought that we had the game won and kind of relaxed. Against a good football team like Jones County, you can’t do that.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Trojans had the first scoring attempt to open the second quarter but missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
The Trojans’ stingy defense forced Jones to go three-and-out after a sack by Aubrey Solomon.
On the ensuing possession, Lee put together a scoring drive with the big play being a 24-yard pass from quarterback Jase Orndorff to Drequan Garmon. The drive was capped by an 18-yard touchdown run by Giavonte Daniels that made the score 7-0.
Both teams traded field goals at the end of the half to make it a 10-3 game.
Lee’s defense was dominant throughout the first half, holding the Greyhounds to just 62 total yards. The Trojans also forced Jones quarterback Brad Hunnicutt to miss a series after a sack.
On their second possession of the second half, the Greyhounds embarked on a three-minute, 52-yard drive that was capped by a 42-yard field goal to make it 10-6 in the third quarter.
As expected, both teams were victims of opening-game jitters. Jones fumbled four times and lost three while Lee fumbled three times and lost one. The Trojans also committed nine penalties for 91 yards.
“It was probably just some jitters with playing on this stage,” Akilies Leroy said. “As the game progressed, we came along and we started making some plays and really playing faster.”
The Trojans added a much-needed touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when they went on a 67-yard scoring drive. The big play was a short catch by Tyquavious Terrell that he turned into a 29-yard gain by evading three defenders. Mark Robinson finished the drive with a five-yard run to make it 17-6.
Lee’s defense continued to look strong in the second half of the game. After making it 17-6, Leroy thumped Jones County wide receiver Jameson Bryant to force a fumble which he recovered.
The linebacker finished the game with eight total tackles.
After Robinson’s touchdown, Jones answered to make it 20-13 after Hunnicutt found Nick Singleton for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Jones got the ball back with 36 seconds left in the game and made it into Lee County territory before time ran out.
Robinson finished the game with 161 yards on 33 carries and a touchdown.
“I didn’t really get tired out there,” Robinson said. “This is what we train for. We beat our bodies down all week for this. I guess, this is the glory day.”