Yellow Jackets romp to 52-12 win
Lee County scored the last 45 points of the game and concluded the non-conference part of its regular season with a 52-12 rout over visiting Overhills (2-3) Friday night at Paul B. Gay Stadium.
After a Jaguar touchdown, and Lee County fumble, then another Jaguar touchdown all within 0:43 of the first period, the Jaguars held a 12-7 lead.
The next Jacket drive stalled out and Lee County's defense answered the challenge, namely linebacker Will Shoop did.
On a Jaguar pass toward the right sideline, Shoop read the play and intercepted the pass in stride and went 20 yards for a touchdown. It was the first of two interceptions, plus a fumble recovery by Shoop on the night.
Then the Yellow Jacket special teams joined in switching the momentum for good. On the ensuing kickoff, Ian Frye sent a high pooch kick toward the Jaguar 35-yard line. A Jaguar booted the catch attempt and Lee County's Derrick McIver recovered the ball on the Jaguar 48.
Two snaps later, the Jackets went with trickery. Duane' Bland pitched to Jerry Pullum for what looked like a sweep. Pullum tossed to Nolan Groce on a reverse. Groce tossed the ball back to Bland who launched a ball down the sideline. Keyonta McDougald went over a Jaguar defensive back to make the catch on the goal line for a 39-yard touchdown. The Jackets led 20-12 with 3:50 left in a wild first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets continued on for 10 more points in the first 2:44 of the second quarter and another touchdown later in the second quarter for a 37-12 halftime lead.
Pullum carried 17 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the opening half, including a 33-yard dash to the end zone on Lee County's first drive of the game, a 7-play, 73-yard drive.
The Jaguars, with sophomore Deshaun Phillips at quarterback to start, answered quickly. Phillips hit Julio Martinez for a 27-yard gain on the first Jaguar pass of the game. The 6-foot-5 sophomore then found tight end Chanler Renna for a 19-yard completion, then a 17-yard touchdown pass. A Jaguar two-point try failed, leaving the Jackets ahead 7-6.
Two snaps into the ensuing Jacket possession, the Jackets lost a fumbled handoff and senior defensive end Ansley Jermaine recovered for the Jaguars on the 50.
On the first Jaguar play, sophomore Joshua McGowen found running room off left tackle, then down the left sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.
Turnovers and tighter run defense were the keys for the Jacket defense from that point, The Jaguars managed only a few first downs from McGowen's long run until the game was well decided during the fourth quarter.
A 16-yard touchdown run by Pullum capped a 54-yard drive and put the Jackets up 27-12 with 11:33 left in the second quarter.
The Jacket kickoff team and defense combined to pin the next Jaguar possession inside the Overhills 5 and a good punt return by Pullum set the Jackets up on the Jaguar 25, eventually resulting in a 30-yard field goal by Frye.
Bland hit another big pass play to set up the next Jacket score. On the first play of a new Jacket possession at the Lee 22, Bland hit wide receiver/defensive end John Nguyen down the hashes. Nguyen made the catch and was hit hard, he spun, kept his balance enough to keep a knee from touching the ground, then paused for a second and ran as everyone else on the field paused for more than a second. Nguyen made it a 69-yard gain. Pullum finished the drive with a 9-yard run for a touchdown.
Along with Pullum's yardage and three touchdowns, Bland went 9-for-16 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown in the half.
Bland added another touchdown, hitting Nolan Groce on a slot screen for an 8-yard touchdown play with 3:11 left in the third period.
Bubba Wilson scored on a 2-yard run up the middle early in the fourth quarter and a two-point pass by the Jackets made it 52-12.
Pullum finished with 22 carries for 192 yards and the Jackets totaled 260 rushing yards. Groce led the Jacket receivers with three catches for 31 yards.
In addition to Shoop's two interceptions and fumble recovery, senior lineman Brandon Prevatte had three of the five Yellow Jacket sacks on the night and defensive end Thomas Ferguson made two tackles for loss.
For the Jaguars, after the hot start Phillips finished the night 5-for-10 passing for 75 yards. Tylo Rogers alternated at quarterback during the last three quarters and was 4-for-6 passing for 39 yards. Quincy Ridley had 12 carries for 84 yards.
The Jaguars, new to 4A this season, begin their Mid-South Athletic schedule this coming Friday, hosting South View at 7:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets will make their debut in the Cape Fear Valley hosting Gray's Creek, a CFVC tri-champion a season ago, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.