Yellow Jackets begin first CFVC run tonight
The Cape Fear Valley Conference welcomes Lee County football this evening. Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, they get to host the debut and one of the league's three defending champs - Gray's Creek.
"We've got a tremendous challenge in front of us," said Lee County head coach Burton Cates. "Gray's Creek has been one of the top teams in the conference for the last five or so years. We'd like to have this game later in the year, but we have to go with what the schedule has for us."
The Yellow Jackets (4-1) scored the last 45 points of the game for a 52-12 win over Overhills last Friday in Sanford. It was the fourth lopsided win of the season for the Jackets.
It was another huge game for junior running back Jerry Pullum, as he rushed for three touchdowns before halftime and finished with 192 rushing yards.
Lee County's defense came through to turn the game around after the Jaguars put the ball in the end zone with their first two possessions. Linebacker Will Shoop's interception and return for a touchdown halted the third Jaguar possession and put Lee County in front for good.
"We talk about looking for big plays from our defense," Cates said. "We're looking for the guys to make play when we get the opportunity."
"We're pleased (following the Overhills game), but now we have to put another good game together," he said.
Building consistency and improving off of victories is the mark of a young squad growing up on the fly, Cates said. It's been one of the team's main goals from the preseason up to this exact point on the schedule - the Yellow Jackets, Cates hopes, peaking for conference play.
Gray's Creek dropped to a 2-3 mark with a 27-21 loss at Triton (5-0) last Friday. The Bears led 21-13 going to the fourth quarter. It's a game the Bears, with their running game, are used to putting away.
"We know they have two tremendous running backs and a very good fullback, and a very good offensive line," Cates said.
"We have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We'll have to control the line with our defense if we want to eliminate their big plays," he said.
The Bear rushing is lead by Calvin Boyd, who has 58 carries for 281 yards and two touchdowns, and DeVaughn Speed, who has 42 carries for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback/defensive back Jeff Gibson has thrown only one interception while getting two picks himself on the season. Taylor Sawicki is 5-for-7 booting field goals for the Bears.
Putting the Bears into situations where they have to pass will be key, Cates said.
Cates is pleased with how his Jackets have gotten ready for their first run through the Cape Fear Valley. The next six games present the real test, though.
Gray's Creek, Douglas Byrd - Lee County's next opponent, and departed Overhills were the 2012 CFVC tri-champions.
"I'm happy with how the guys have worked to get to this point," he said, "but we've got to continue to improve."