Lee senior Greg Jones stands 5 feet 9 and weighs 210 pounds, and he isn't afraid to run into a crowd of oncoming players nose first. His hair is shorn within a half-inch of his scalp and his thick arms are the result of countless hours in the weight room, where he's one of the Lancers' strongest performers.
Jones creates the impression of a linebacker. And although he threw the ball against West Springfield last night as many times as a linebacker would've -- zero -- Jones is a quarterback, a quarterback who bulled his way for 152 yards on offense. On defense, he intercepted a pass to lead his team to a vital 34-3 victory on a chilly and wet homecoming night.
"He's a big guy," Lee running back Brandon Cameron said, "and he plays big for us, too."
Jones and the Lancers (5-2, 4-0 Virginia AAA Patriot District) pounded West Springfield with a powerful running attack and a stifling defense that stymied West Springfield's prolific passing game.
The victory gave Lee sole possession of second place in the district and sets up a showdown against first-place Annandale in two weeks that will likely decide the district title.
With the Concorde District likely to grab three of the Northern Region's four state playoff berths, the game could decide which Patriot team makes it into the postseason.
"Two teams aren't going to make it. It's going to be Lee or Annandale," said West Springfield Coach Bill Renner, whose offense, led by junior quarterback Peter Lalich, entered the game averaging more than 260 yards and two touchdowns a game through the air. Lalich finished 13 of 34 for 62 yards.
Jones gave the Lancers a 7-3 lead on a one-yard sneak late in the first quarter. Barely a minute later, sophomore Pierre Williams returned a blocked punt 16 yards to make it 14-3.
West Springfield (3-4, 2-2) went three and out on its ensuing possession and Lee took advantage of what may have been a tired Spartans defense when Cameron dashed untouched for a 59-yard sprint off left tackle. In all, Lee held the ball for nearly 30 minutes -- a physical advantage exacerbated by the Lancers' rugged running style and West Springfield's near-total reliance on the pass.
"Coach [Chad Lewis] had a great game plan. He told us where they were going to be and where they were going to go," said Cameron, who rushed for 133 yards and two scores.
Afterward, the players in a raucous Lee locker room chanted Jones's name in rhythm, mimicking a popular song by rapper Mike Jones.
"There was a lot of trash talk going around this week because we're so close together and we haven't played each other since I've been here," Jones said. "We wanted to make a point."