Clay Today sports director Randy Lefko in his summer predictions believed the Lee Generals should be on upset alert when they visit Middleburg the first week of October after losing several starters …
Clay Today sports director Randy Lefko in his summer predictions believed the Lee Generals should be on upset alert when they visit Middleburg the first week of October after losing several starters who transferred to Oakleaf. Let's just say his prediction was a little off; to the tune of 46 points off as the Generals took down the Middleburg Broncos in a 54-8 rout Friday night.
After Lee scored a touchdown just two minutes into the game the Broncos had a productive first drive of their own but unfortunately the drive included several penalties that killed most of their offensive production early. "I felt we moved the ball early on but with penalties we just never gave ourselves a chance" said Broncos head coach Karl Smeltzer. The Broncos were forced to punt and were able to back the Generals to their own 9 yard line. The highlight of the night for the Broncos happened when Donovan Wimberly picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown late in the first quarter and with the two point conversion suddenly the Broncos had an 8-7 lead. Along with that lead came confidence, momentum and a capacity crowd (by COVID-19 standards) going wild cheering their Broncos new found success against one of the top teams in Northeast Florida. Unfortunately, momentum can shift quickly in high school football as Lee returned the kickoff for a score and regained the lead they would not relinquish.
Things went from bad to worse on the next drive when Bronco quarterback Luke Padgett tried to make a play using a shovel pass but the Generals intercepted the pass and ran 50 yards for the pick six and a 19-8 lead. The bad luck continued later in the second quarter when the Broncos tried a trick play but fumbled the ball in the process. The fumble resulted in a 43 yard "scoop and score" that put Lee ahead 33-8 at halftime. "I told the players at halftime I wanted to see some fight, that is all you can do when you have a young team and play eight sophomores against a special team like Lee" said Smeltzer.
The second half saw more of the same as Lee would score on their first offensive play of the third quarter when running back Dayon Rawls sprinted 41 yards for a 40-8 lead. Lee would add two more scoring runs of 12 yards and 73 yards for a 54-8 win including a fake punt by the Generals with less than two remaining on a running clock. However, the Broncos did fight and played with 100% effort with a focus on improvement with a three game county set starting this week with Ridgeview. "I know this group will come back Monday ready to work because these kids do it every single day. At some point it will "click" for them and they will see alot of success" said Smeltzer.
When asked about a team leading by over 40 points running a fake punt with less than two minutes left Smeltzer said "it's our job to stop them but if that helps them sleep at night I am all for it. I would never do that and I will sleep well tonight."