The Lee County Trojans (13-1) prepare for its state title game vs. Coffee High (10-3) full of energy and optimism.
The same feelings that had been sucked from Trojan Field when they trailed Glynn Academy by 25 points in the semifinals Friday night.
But Lee County prevailed. They forced four fumbles in the 4th quarter, and they needed each one of them to pull off the 42-38 win and earn a berth in the 6A championship.
"We felt like we could create a lot of turnovers in the game," said head coach Dean Fabrizio. "They did a great job with ball security until the 4th quarter and then it kind of hit all at once."
"We had to make some adjustments to the defense because they kept breaking up the middle," said safety TJ Harris. "So we had to adjust that. And once we adjusted, we just caused fumbles."
Lee County has put together a sturdy season.
Their (13-1) record is the best in program history, and the Trojans are just a month removed from winning the Region 1-6A title over Coffee 23-7—the same team that awaits them in Atlanta for all the marbles.
But Lee County knows the sequel doesn't always bring the same joy as the original.
"All you have to do is watch the Georgia-Auburn (SEC Championship) game to know that just whoever won the first one you can kind of throw that out," said Fabrizio. "They've got a great football team, seems like we played them just yesterday for the region title."
"We really have to treat it like a regular team," said senior quarterback Jase Orndorff. "We can't go in saying we're going to beat them, or they're going to beat us. We just need to treat it like a regular game."
The Trojans from Douglas will pack a stingy defense and a yearning for revenge on their trip to Atlanta.
Coffee just held Tucker to its lowest scoring output since 2009 in the semifinals, Lee County is aware.
"They play very well on defense they get to the ball," said Harris. "Any time our offense messes up they're capable of turning it to a big play."
"No defense can stop our offense," said Orndorff. "Once we're clicking and we're on the same page with each other, no one can stop us."
Kickoff is Friday night at 8 in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. It's the first championship appearance for both South Georgia Trojans teams.
"When we get into that stadium not getting caught up in the video screen and the enormity of everything," said Fabrizio. "Whoever handles that the best in this game is going to be a key factor in getting the win."
The 6A state championship is scheduled to kickoff at 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Friday night.
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