Home Crowd Pushes Yellow Jackets to Victory Over Cleveland
The 3rd round matchup was about as even on paper headed into the game as two teams can get. Offenses both were over 5,000 yards on the season and scoring better than 40 points per game. Both teams have been stingy all season on defense giving up less than 12 points per game. Each featured a big-time running back and playmakers everywhere on the field. But the Lee County fans helped make a difference on Friday night.
An estimated crowd of over 2500 was on hand for one of the most anticipated matchups in the 3AA playoffs. Cleveland struck early and raced to a 20-3 lead into the late stages on the first half. But a 4th down run for a score by AJ Boulware and a nifty touchdown reception by Jackson Lamb ignited the home crowd just before the half.
The crowd momentum carried into the 2nd half – and despite a Cleveland TD that pushed the lead to 27-19 – the Yellow Jackets still somehow had the momentum of the crowd. You could feel it. It was there. It felt like the late 60s for just a moment at Paul Gay Stadium. The home crowd was on its feet for most of the 4th quarter urging the Yellow Jackets to come back. The crowd was giving it – and Lee County responded. Touchdown passes from Colin Johnson to Timmy Lett and Jayden Chalmers put Lee County in front and an interception by Lamb and the Lee defense ended Cleveland’s hopes.
Lee County will host New Hanover this Friday night at Paul Gay Stadium. This Yellow Jacket team needs nothing less than what they gave on the field this past Friday and what the crowd gave as well to get past New Hanover. It will be a battle for the Eastern Championship and the right to play for the 3AA State Championship Saturday, December 14th at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. See you at the Lee County-New Hanover game….Friday night…7:30…Be there.