NACOGDOCHES - Tyler Lee erased a 13-point deficit with 41 unanswered points to defeat Nacogdoches 41-19 on Friday at Dragon Stadium.
The win gives Robert E. Lee a 3-0 start for the first time since 2003.
The Red Raiders rushed for 421 yards, led by junior Ladarius Wickware who carried the ball 25 times for 235 yards and a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Chance Amie rushed for 106 yards, half of it coming on a 50-yard touchdown run, and also tossed two touchdown passes to Jamal Ligon (3-51).
Nacogdoches (0-3) held a 13-0 lead midway through the first half and was dominating the Red Raiders on both sides of the ball.
Dragons sophomore quarterback Jake Smith had engineered two scoring drives, the first off an Amie interception on Lee’s second play from scrimmage, and the second after a 28-yard punt by Lee that set the Dragons up in Red Raiders territory. Marcus Sweat capped both Nacogdoches drives with TD runs of 4 and 5 yards.
Lee either was stopping itself with mistakes, or when the Red Raiders did gain yardage, a flag would come out. Amie thought he’d pushed REL down the field with a big scramble, only for yellow to appear and the Red Raiders were forced to march backward.
All told, Lee had 15 penalties called on the Red Raiders for 129 yards.
Needing something to turn things around, Lee’s defense, and in particular Matt Taylor, answered the call.
Nacogdoches faced fourth-and-4 from midfield and decided to go for it.
Taylor raced in and blocked Smith’s pass for a turnover on downs.
On the next play, Amie took the snap and took off up the middle and around Nacogdoches defenders for a 50-yard scramble touchdown. The PAT by Mason Magers was good. Magers was making his varsity debut because of a season-ending injury suffered by Leonel Coreas last week.
Nacogdoches attempted to respond and drove to the Lee 29, but the Red Raiders defense stiffened there, forcing a 46-yard field goal attempt that was missed.
With new life, Lee drove 75 yards in nine plays, capped by a 26-yard scoring pass from Amie to Ligon. Magers’ extra point gave Lee a 14-13 lead at halftime.
The third quarter featured more of the same from Lee’s defense and its rushing attack.
Nacogdoches took the third-quarter kickoff and drove to the Lee 37 before Taylor ended things again with an interception.
Lee then proceeded to drive 65 yards and overcome numerous penalties along the way that nullified big gains before Jordan Printers raced in for a 14-yard touchdown.
Any chance Nacogdoches had to try and come back was nullified late in the third quarter. Lee’s defense forced another turnover on downs at its own 29.
On the next play, Wickware broke free for a 59-yard run. Three plays after that, Lanthony Simmons was in the end zone on a 5-yard TD run and the Red Raiders never looked back.
Lee opens District 11-6A play Friday at home against Rockwall-Heath.
Tyler Lee 41, Nacogdoches 19
Tyler Lee 0 14 14 13 - 41
Nacogdoches 13 0 0 6 - 19
NAC-Marcus Sweat 4 run (Chris Campos-Gonzalez kick), 8:24
NAC-Sweat 5 run (kick failed), :46
LEE-Chance Amie 50 run (Mason Magers kick), 5:47
LEE-Jamal Ligon 26 pass from Amie (Magers kick), :52
LEE-Jordan Printers 14 run (Magers kick), 6:01
LEE-Lanthony Simmons 5 run (Magers kick), 1:52
LEE-Ligon 16 pass from Amie (Magers kick), 9:51
LEE-Ladarius Wickware 24 run (kick blocked), 9:31
NAC-James Sowards 10 pass from Jake Smith (pass failed), :52
First Downs 25 20
Rushes-Yards 52-421 29-101
Passing Yards 78 180
Comp.-Att.-Int. 7-14-1 14-32-1
Punts-Avg. 4-31.2 4-43.7
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 15-129 9-84
RUSHING-Tyler Lee, Ladarius Wickware 25-235, Chance Amie 14-106, Malik Hall 9-52, Jordan Printers 2-19, Lanthony Simmons 2-9. Nacogdoches, Marcus Sweat 15-57, Isiah Smith 10-23, Jake Smith 2-12, Bobby Phillips 2-18, Team 1-(minus 9).
PASSING-Tyler Lee, Amie 7-13-1 78, Roland Poster 0-1-0 0. Nacogdoches, Smith 14-28-1 180, Phillips 0-4-0 0.
RECEIVING-Tyler Lee, Jamal Ligon 3-51, Wickware 2-25, Harrison Branham 1-2, Marquis Gray 1-0. Nacogdoches, James Sowards 6-124, Jed Morgan 4-18, Karlus Flanagan 2-26, Nick Smith 2-12.