Robert E. Lee Rewind
Final score: Robert E. Lee 41, Garland Naaman Forest 35
Quotable: "We came out slow. They were (winless) and we didn't take them seriously enough. Then we went down 21-0 and got a reality check," Lee senior quarterback Zach Hall said of the comeback win. "In the second half, everything started clicking more.
"We knew our defense was going to get us the ball back and we were going to score."
Turning point: REL looked to be in serious trouble in the fourth quarter, trailing 35-26 while NF felt happy to keep converting third downs and running out the clock. NF needed one yard for another conversion, but was stuffed on third down and fourth down to give REL the ball back with 3:22 left.
On the first play, Hall went deep to senior receiver Isjuwan Barker and was rewarded with a 53-yard touchdown. The comeback was on after that.
The game was over when: Now trailing 35-33 and less than 2 minutes remaining, REL called its final timeout followed by Braden Coates dropping the ball carrier for a two-yard loss on third down and John Samples knocking down the Rangers' fourth-down pass to give Lee the ball back with 1:31 remaining.
It took three plays before Hall was waltzing into the end zone with the game-winning touchdown. Naaman Forest had one final chance, but never got past midfield.
Key stats: The Red Raiders' maligned defense, after giving up touchdowns on four consecutive drives in the first half, stood tall in the second half. Lee gave up a long TD drive in the third quarter, but responded by forcing two turnovers on downs when it mattered most.
Warning signs: It was the fourth game in a row in which a sluggish REL team had to battle through its mistakes. The Red Raiders were able to overcome it and win three of those.
Positive signs: Lee completes its season with a .500 record, a Senior Night win, and after n 0-2 start in District 11-6A, the Red Raiders won 4 of their last 5 games.
What this win means: Unfortunately nothing. Lee tied for third place in the district, but due to 11-6A tiebreaker rules, REL ultimately has to settle for fifth place and will miss the playoffs.
Fast forward: The Red Raiders will have to replace a plethora of senior starters on offense and defense, including every offensive skill position. Ultimately, REL's goal was to challenge for a district title, get to the playoffs and end the Red Raiders playoff victory drought by securing its first win since 2009. The wait continues.