Lee County @ Cleveland In Eastern 3AA Semi-Finals – A Look At The Numbers

Lee County travels to Cleveland High School in Clayton this Friday night for an Eastern 3AA Semi-Final and a rematch of last season’s playoff game won in Sanford by Lee County 34-27.   In what was the best played and most exciting game on the Yellow Jackets playoff run to the state title game, Lee County overcame an early 17-point deficit to win before a packed house at Paul Gay Stadium.

This year’s game on paper looks to be great matchup once again – and the WFJA Sports team has put together all the numbers that make us think we will see another classic matchup in Clayton this Friday.    Both teams have been dominant all season long and many observers feel these are the best two teams in the east.  Below are the numbers and things to watch for this Friday night.


Lee County – 8-0 Overall, 5-0 in the Tri County 3A Conference

Cleveland – 8-0 Overall, 5-0 in the Greater Neuse 3A

Maxpreps Ratings

Lee County – #10 in the 3A Poll, Team Rating 31.8, Schedule Strength 1.1

Cleveland – #6 in the 3A Poll, Team Rating 40.1, Schedule Strength 9.1


Lee County Beat:

*South Granville – #45 in 2A poll with a 5-2 record – Score 27-6

*Overhills – #42 in 4A poll with a 3-4 record – Score 30-27

*Union Pines – #69 in 3A poll with a 4-3 record – Score 56-14

*Harnett Central – #83 in 3A poll with a 2-5 record – Score 38-0

*Western Harnett – #108 in 3A poll with a 0-7 record – Score 54-6

*Triton – #67 in 3A poll with a 4-3 record – Score 52-7

*Southern Lee – #106 in 3A poll with a 2-5 record – Score 67-16

*JH Rose – #13 in 3A poll with a 7-1 record – Score 34-26

Cleveland Beat:

*South View – #15 in 4A poll with a 7-1 record – Score 39-29

*Corinth Holders – #46 in the 4A poll with a 1-5 record – Score 62-15

*East Wake – #67 in 3A poll with a 2-4 record – Score 54-0

*Smithfield-Selma – #89 in 3A poll with a 2-5 record – Score 56-7

*Clayton – #12 in 3A poll with a 7-1 record – Score 34-27

*West Johnson – #49 in 3A poll with a 5-2 – Score 54-0

*South Johnston – #74 in 3A poll with a 2-5 – Score 44-0

*Southern Durham – #39 in 3A poll with a 5-2 record – Score 49-0

Scoring Offense

Lee County – Scored 358 points (44.8 ppg)

Cleveland – Scored 392 points (49.0 ppg)

Scoring Defense

Lee County – Allowed 102 points (12.8 ppg)

Cleveland – Allowed 77 points (9.8 ppg)


Lee County – Team Rushing Total – 1092 (136.5 ypg)

Cleveland – Team Rushing Total – 1560 (195.0 ypg)


Lee County – Will Patterson 113 of 180 for 1819 yards – 21 TDs – 3 INTs

Cleveland – Skylar Locklear 107 of 165 for 1510 yards – 16 TDs – 5 INTs


Lee County Top Receivers – Tyric McKendall – 36-642-10 TDs, Kenyon Palmer 25-409-6 TDs, Eli Garrison 16-206-2 TDs, Jackson Lamb 14-271-1 TD

Cleveland Top Receivers – Jashawn Middleton 28-382-4 TDs, Carter Griffith 23-349-2 TDs, Nick Roccia 17-315-3 TDs

Top Defensive Players (Tackles/Tackles for Loss)

Lee County – TJ Johnson 58/6, JoJo Jennings 52/7, Delmaz Jennings 49/21, Derran McKoy 39/21, Landon Johnson 37/10

Cleveland – Hunter Morris 61/16, Lenix Martinez 50/11, KD Harrison 44/10, Trey Robinson 42/22, Keyshawn Monk 42/2

Our Observations

This should be a good one.   For those that attended last years game, you may remember the Cleveland sophomore running back named Omarion Hampton that was turning heads all over the state and being recruited by big-time schools.   Hampton played the first 5 games this season before injury sidelined him and reports tell us he will not play this Friday night.   Cleveland still has a stable full of running backs – but certainly no more with the speed and abilities of Hampton.   Otherwise, both teams are relatively healthy and ready to go.

The Breakdown

Records – Both teams 8-0, 5-0 – No advantage here.

Rankings/Ratings – Cleveland gets a razor thin advantage here with the 3A ranking, Maxpreps Ratings and SOS all slightly favoring Cleveland.

Scoring Offense & Defense – Cleveland has a slight advantage here, but from what we have seen with running clocks and lots of back-up players playing the 2nd half of lopsided games for both teams – there is no real advantage here.

Rushing Offense – Prior to Hampton’s injury this would be advantage Rams, but the teams have averaged about the same on the ground in the last few games – No advantage here.

Passing Offense – Skylar Locklear (Cleveland) and Will Patterson (Lee County) have had similar years with Patterson showing slightly better numbers in completions, yardage, TDs and INTs.   Both are juniors with Locklear having the advantage of starting as a sophomore and having experience in these type games.  Patterson has been on a roll as of late and has the stronger arm of the two.  We like Locklear’s experience and Patterson’s abilities, and this matchup will be key.  Slight advantage to Lee County.

Special Teams – Both are good here and the kickers numbers nearly match each other.  Lee County has been solid in the kicking/punting game and blocked a handful of punts/PATs on the season.   Slight advantage to Lee County here.

Intangibles – Cleveland will have the home field advantage and both teams will come in with the confidence of an unbeaten record and knowing they are among the top football programs in the East.   Both Coaching Staffs are among the best in the state.   Lee County has the advantage of knowing they beat Cleveland last season while Cleveland certainly will use the game for revenge.    No advantage here.

Our Take

As we have seen with big games in the past, games are won at the line of scrimmage.   We were pleased with what we saw from the O-Line in Greenville last week as they controlled a good Rose defensive front – giving Patterson the time he needed and holes for the Lee backs.   If the O-Line does it again this week – we like the Yellow Jackets.   The Yellow Jacket defense has been among the best in the state and will have to control the line of scrimmage and be careful of the scrambling abilities of Locklear.   If Lee can get to Locklear – again we like Lee County.   But the O-Line & D-Line of Cleveland has been every bit as good as Lee’s, which makes the matchups at the line of scrimmage a factor that may determine this game.    Our Sports Staff has a ton of confidence in the Yellow Jacket defense – and until we see someone dominate the Lee defensive front – we are sticking with Lee County to play in the Eastern Finals.  

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