Robert E. Lee Rewind: Raiders drop first game to Nacogdoches

Robert E. Lee's Marquis Gray (22) goes flying from a big hit after making an interception in the Red Raiders game Friday against Nacogdoches at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. (Lang White / Correspondent)

Final score: Nacogdoches 24, Robert E. Lee 17

Quotable: “At times we shut them down, but sometimes good football players make good plays too, and they made more than we did tonight. We had too many mistakes, and I take full responsibility.” - Clayton George, REL head coach

Turning point: The Red Raiders did not record a first down until early in the second quarter as their running game was bottled up by Nacogdoches. Ultimately the game-winning TD occurred midway through the first half on a 75-yard punt return for a score by Justin Thompson. That gave Nacogdoches a 24-0 lead. Lee blanked the Dragons from that point, but couldn’t complete the comeback in the second half.

The game was over when: With Lee needing to stop Nacogdoches and get the ball back late in the game, Phillip Jones converted a third-and-10 with a 21-yard run to enable the Dragons to run down the clock to under a minute.

Key stats: REL junior QB Chance Amie rushed for 215 yards and scored 2 TDs and completed 5 of 19 for 51 yards, but it could have been much more as Lee receivers dropped several passes.

Warning signs: Prior to Friday, REL had surrendered a combined 90 yards in its first two games. Nacogdoches rushed for 164 in the first half of Friday’s loss. Lee held the Dragons to 52 in the second half.

Positive signs: The Red Raiders could’ve folded when they fell behind 24-0, but instead fired back and had opportunities to complete the comeback in the second half.

What this loss means: It denied REL a 3-0 start for the first time in 13 years and was the first setback for George in his first year at REL. The games that matter most now begin .

Fast forward: Lee begins District 11-6A play on the road Friday at Rockwall-Heath (2-1).

“Right now we are 0-0; we had three ball games with a lot of learning and a lot of good things that happened,” George said. “Now we start district play and everyone is a good football team, so we will have to be on our A game every week.”

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