Lee County – Cleveland Matchup By The Numbers

Lee County will host the Cleveland Rams this Friday night in the 3rd round of the 3AA High School Football Championships.    Lee County cruised to a 33-12 home win over Southern Alamance and the Rams beat DH Conley 35-14 on the road in the 2nd round of the playoffs.   Below is a look at the two teams and a guide to the game this week at Paul Gay Stadium in Sanford.

The Game This Friday

To be played Thanksgiving Friday, November 29 at Paul Gay Stadium on the Lee County HS campus in Sanford.

3rd Round (Eastern Semi-Finals) of the State 3AA Playoffs – Winner to play the winner of #2 New Hanover vs. #14 Grays Creek in the Eastern Finals.

Records and Seedings

Lee County – #1 Seed – 13-0 – Champion of the Tri-County 3A Conference

Cleveland – #5 Seed – 12-1 – Champion of the Greater Neuse 3A Conference

Rankings

Lee County – #9 in the Maxpreps State 3A Poll – Overall 37.4 team rating – Schedule Str 7.2

Cleveland – #12 in the Maxpreps State 3A Poll – Overall 35.9 team rating – Sch Str 7.8

Other – Schedules & Conference

Both Lee County and Cleveland played in 6-team conferences that according to MaxPreps ranked among the weaker conferences in the 3A ranks. The other 5 teams in the Tri-County 3A Conference (Lee County) had a total overall record of 25-31 and an average State 3A ranking of 73.8 of 109 teams, while the other 5 teams in Cleveland’s Greater Neuse 3A had a combined record of 16-40 and an average 3A ranking of 85.2.

Cleveland’s non-conference schedule included teams with an average ranking of 46.1 in State polls while Lee County’s non-conference opponents average rank is 53.5.

Scoring

Lee County – Scores 43.9 PPG and Allows 10.5 PPG – Scoring Margin +33.4

Cleveland – Scores 43.8 PPG and Allows 12.3 PPG – Scoring Margin +31.5

Total Yardage

Lee County – Rushing 3240 – Passing 2023 – Total Yardage 5263

Cleveland – Rushing 3447 – Passing 2476 – Total Yardage 5923

Passing

Lee County (Colin Johnson #3) – 149 of 240 – 2008 yards – 25 TDs – 1 Int

Cleveland (Skylar Locklear #12) – 150 of 243 – 2425 yards – 34 TDs – 7 Int

When Cleveland Has The Ball

Lee County will see one of the best running backs in North Carolina in Sophomore RB Omarion Hampton. Hampton has rushed 227 times for 2280 yards in 13 games and with his size (6′ – 210 lbs) is tough to tackle. Sophomore QB Skylar Locklear and the Rams will look to receivers Isaiah Sawyer (37 catches), Kouren Artis (27), and Jacquez Durham (26). Cleveland will run up-tempo and their run/pass ratio is 62% to 38%. The Yellow Jackets have shown the ability to pressure and hurry QBs and are strong enough at the defensive front to stop good running.   All-American Dez Evans, App State commit Deandre Dingle-Prince, and hard-hitting Larry Baldwin will lead the 1st line of defense up front, while UNC commit Jayden Chalmers will lead the Yellow Jacket secondary. Lee County will need to pressure Locklear and tackle Hampton in groups. The Lee defense is giving up a stingy 63.7 yards on the ground and Hampton will run right at the Yellow Jackets strength.

When Lee County Has The Ball

The Yellow Jackets will feature AJ Boulware (1803 yards in 12 games) and QB Colin Johnson on the offensive side of the ball.   Johnson has completed his passes at a 62.1% rate, has picked up 388 yards rushing and continues to make good decisions on the field.   He has spread the Yellow Jacket passing to over a dozen different receivers and sees the field well.    Larry Baldwin has 593 yards rushing for the Yellow Jackets that have put up over 3000 yards on the ground.   Tyric McKendall is Lee County’s leading receiver with 45 catches and he and Jayden Chalmers are Lee’s most dangerous weapons after the catch.   Lee County’s offense will spread the field and hopefully give Boulware & Baldwin room to run.   Dakota Marguess (#51) leads the Rams in tackles (156), while Hunter Morris (#24) and Gabe Jones (#3) are among the leaders on defense.

Intangibles

  • The Yellow Jackets will be home for the 4th consecutive week and routines and home field should favor Lee County.    Cleveland won a 1st round game at home and won on the road last week at DH Conley.
  • Kicker Trey Underwood continues to be an advantage for Lee County in each game they play.  The Rams have used 3 different kickers this season and are 70 of 81 on PATs with zero FGs on the season.  Underwood is 4th place in kick scoring in the history of NC high school football, has 10 FGs on the season and should give the edge here to the Yellow Jackets.
  • Cleveland’s best two offensive weapons are sophomores (RB Hampton and QB Locklear) while Lee County has seniors at QB and in the backfield. Lee County’s players have been in 3 years of playoff games and experience could be important in this game.
  • Lee County is +23 in turnovers on the season and have blocked punts in 3 of the last 4 games.

WFJA Sports wants to thank all local high school football fans for following our local teams and we encourage all that can to come out to watch this 3rd round match-up on Friday.  

Special Thanks to Wilkinson Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC for bringing you our website sports pages, Tri-County records, Schedules and Stats for both Lee County and Southern Lee.

Please let WFJA Sports know your feedback on our football pages for 2019 – simply go to “Contact Us” under the Business dropdown tab on the WFJA website and let us know! We have enjoyed bringing you Lee County and Southern Lee football for the 2019 season!

Friday’s 3rd round game will air on 105.5 FM in the Sandhills and stream on-line at www wfjawwgpradio.com on your phone or computer.