Lee County’s dream season ended one win short of perfection, falling to Weddington 34-14 Saturday night in the 3AA State Championship game.
Weddington used the swift feet of phenom Will Shipley, who rushed for four touchdowns and a career-best 256 yards, to score early and often.
Lee stumbled out the gate and allowed Shipley to march down the field for an opening drive touchdown. The Jackets answered with a methodical drive of their own, converting four third downs along the way, before stalling inside the 5 yard line and turning the ball over in the end zone on fourth down.
The Warriors then blocked a punt for a touchdown to go up 14-0, and midway through the second quarter, Shipley broke free on a 67-yard run to take a 21-0 lead.
The Jackets would finally get on the board with a seven-play drive capped by a quarterback sneak by Colin Johnson for a score to set a 21-7 halftime score. The Jackets came out with a chip on their shoulders after the half. After an attempted onside failed, Lee’s defensive held firm on Weddington’s first drive.
Then Johnson connected with Jayden Chalmers on a 44-yard pass to pull the Jackets within a touchdown at 21-14.
But Weddington capped a drive with a two-yard touchdown by Shipley to set the score at 27-14, and the Warriors didn’t look back.
Johnson finished his Yellow Jacket career going 22-29 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown and running for 55 yards and another score. The Warriors held Lee County’s do-it-all running back A.J. Boulware in check all night, allowing just 49 yards on 24 carries. On defense, Delmaz Jennings led the way with 11 tackles.
The loss caps one of the most successful seasons for Lee County in school history, including the first state championship game since 1974. The Jackets finish the season with a 15-1 record.