For Yellow Jacket Players and Fans – A Season They’ll Never Forget
The Lee County Yellow Jackets lost in the finals of the State 3AA Football Championship Saturday night to Weddington at Carter Finley Stadium 34-14 to finish the season at 15-1, Tri-County 3A Conference Champions, Eastern Champions and State 3AA Runner-Up. It was a magical season for the Yellow Jackets, their fans, and Lee County in general as the team ignited the community over the final 6 weeks of the season and made the season one the locals will not forget for years to come. WFJA Sports was proud to be a part of local high school football for the 58th consecutive year and watching this group excel was certainly a privilege to watch and broadcast on our stations. Below are some observations of this team, the fans and the winningest season ever in Lee County history.
- Seventeen (17) seniors played their final game as a Yellow Jacket Saturday night at Carter Finley Stadium. This group led the Yellow Jackets to 3 consecutive unbeaten regular seasons and a total record of 38-3 over three years. This group won three consecutive Tri-County 3A Titles and won 15 games this year – the most ever by a Lee County squad. Seniors on this Yellow Jacket team are Jayden Chalmers, Colin Johnson, AJ Boulware, Trey Underwood, Larry Baldwin, Jordan Batts, Timmy Lett, Sincere Goldston, Dez Evans, Jaylin Sumpter, DeAndre Dingle-Prince, Tyler Gray, Ethan Johnson, Carson Hailey, Jamaul Wilson, Nathaniel Martinez and Marcus Gray.
- Quarterback Colin Johnson continued to be the leader on Saturday night that we have seen all year. Johnson led the Yellow Jackets on the ground with 43 rushing yards and was 22 of 29 throwing for 135 yards. Johnson accounted for both Lee scores with a 1-yard run and a 44-yard TD pass to Chalmers. Johnson will finish as the winningest QB in Lee County history.
- The Lee County fans rallied around this team in the playoffs as the Yellow Jackets played their best football during the post-season. Crowds at the home playoff games were big and the following at Carter Finley on Saturday dwarfed the crowds brought by the other 3 teams that played in Raleigh on Saturday. The Lee County crowd was estimated at 4 times that of Charlotte’s Weddington HS. From videos of the fans lining Horner Boulevard to the caravan to Raleigh, the local fans were the best in Raleigh on this Saturday night and local fans should be proud. This team deserved the support they received, and the team gave plenty back to the fans.
- Lee County had several opportunities to make things happen differently in the State Final on Saturday. The Lee Coaches will no doubt look at several key plays that changed the game in Weddington’s favor. There was the 2nd drive of the game that went 19 plays and 78 yards – ending on the Warrior 2-yard line with no points. There was a blocked punt that Weddington scooped up for a 26-yard touchdown. But play at the line of scrimmage proved to be the difference as Weddington shut down the Yellow Jacket rush and forced Johnson to have to make plays for Lee County to move the ball. The solid line play on both sides for Weddington was well above what the Yellow Jackets had seen all year and was the difference on this Saturday night.
- Teams that win will always have a more excited fan base and bigger crowds at football games. For those that have been around Sanford for a while, this season brought back a lot of memories of how this community used to follow high school football. The excitement at games during the playoff run brought an atmosphere that we haven’t seen in Sanford for a long time. It was refreshing and hopefully this support will continue to swell as it did this year in future years.
- Now that the season has finally ended, All-Conference teams will be announced this next week and we will be shocked if the team is not loaded with Yellow Jackets. We expect many of the seniors and underclassmen listed above will be honored on the post-season teams.
- Lee County kicker Trey Underwood was honored by the NCHSAA with the Sportsmanship Award prior to the game and his two extra points gave him 346 kick points for his career. Underwood finished as the 4th leading kick scorer in the history of high school football in North Carolina.
- The hurt of this loss will stick with these seniors for a few days and the opportunities they had in the final game that didn’t convert into points. But these seniors will eventually realize how good they really were this season and they should be extremely proud of this season and the last 3 years. We only hope these seniors enjoyed the ride and made some memories they will never forget.
- Head Coach Steve Burdeau is now 26-2 in his 1st two years as the Yellow Jacket Coach with two Tri-County titles, and Eastern Title and a State Runner-Up. Kudos to all the coaches on the sidelines that developed these young men and it’s nice to know that the Lee County program is in the hands of a great group of coaches. There is no reason to think that Burdeau and staff won’t be ready next August to do it all over again.
- Speaking of next year, we started thinking about next season on the way home from Raleigh last night. Even though the Yellow Jackets lose a great group of seniors, there will be a talented group of returning players and an undefeated JV team that will lead the Yellow Jackets next season. Tyric McKendall, Jackson Lamb, Jason Berdecia, Jayden Marshall, Tarius Alston, TJ Johnson, JoJo Jennings, Delmaz Jennings, Derran McKoy, Geovanni Jamerson, James Gordon, and Landon Johnson all started games during the regular season and will welcome a JV group led by talented QB Will Patterson and RB/LB TJ Johnson that went 9-0 and bring the promise of another loaded Lee County team in the fall of 2020. It’s early to even think about next year, but we guarantee that Coach Burdeau and staff have already started to look ahead.
- WFJA Sports thanks our advertisers that supported the broadcasts for all Lee County and Southern Lee games. WFJA broke records each week of the playoffs with the number of on-line listeners and we received text and calls of Lee County grads listening from all over the country over the last 4-5 weeks. We thank you for listening to WFJA and WWGP Sports!
- Lee County fans can check the WFJA Facebook page for a video of a behind the scenes look at the WFJA Radio Crew getting set up and ready for the championship game.
Congrats to the Lee County Yellow Jackets on a great season! Thanks to all for supporting and being a part of this team and yes – WFJA is already looking forward to next year as well. But fortunately, whatever does happen in years to come, nothing will not affect the memories of the 2019 season – as it will be one we never forget.