For every calculated change that Lee Coach Clarence Martin had installed this past offseason — a new offensive coaching staff and a revamp of the zone read schemes — it all threatened to unravel following the first series of Thursday’s football season opener against visiting Edison.
“We started off very shaky and threw a pick-six that Edison intercepted and ran for a touchdown,” Martin said. “We were not a very good offensive team last year, but I was still confident after the pick-six.”
Martin’s optimism and offensive overhaul were validated by game’s end as Lee defeated Edison, 75-61, in a wild contest. The Lancers needed just three quarters to reach their final output, showcasing a torrid pace that marked a stark contrast from last year when Lee totaled just 120 points for the entire season. Back then, Lee’s offense centered on and around running back Michael Jolly, and while the senior proved impressive during Thursday’s win with 353 all-purpose yards and three scores, the Monmouth recruit had plenty of help.
After shaking off his opening interception, quarterback Adam Murray produced four touchdowns, including two on passes to Jonathan Walters. Fullback Justin Jarmon added three more rushing touchdowns to add another cog to Lee’s strong ground attack.
“Our new offense allows us to use all of our weapons instead of just focusing on me the whole time,” said Jolly, who had 147 rushing yards and scored on a 78-yard kickoff return. “This year, our new coaches are really good and had us focusing on technique so we could come out better as a team.”
A key moment came in the second quarter, when Murray broke a 40-yard run. The dual-threat ability showcased by the senior quarterback helped draw in the defense and open the field for the Lancers other weapons, resulting in a 56-point outburst across the second and third quarters.
“Our passing game and screen game were really devastating because we were able to use the speed of our skill players on the perimeter,” Martin said. “We saw the defense make a lot of adjustments, but we just stuck with our game plan.”
With Lee up 75-40 near the end of the third quarter, Martin removed his starters. Edison’s first string threatened a comeback behind 21 fourth-quarter points and the throwing of quarterback Harrison Dandridge (338 passing yards and four touchdowns). But Martin remained confident in his reserve players, who chewed up the clock and allowed Lee to close out the three-hour contest.
As the team happily basked in the postgame glory, Martin made sure to remind his team that lots of work still remained ahead for the Lancers. Last season, Lee beat Marshall, 47-7, before sputtering to a 3-7 finish, and with a tough Chantilly team awaiting them next Friday, Martin and the Lancers know there is work left to be done.
“I told them to celebrate and have fun because it’s a reflection of the hard work they put in, but we can’t celebrate too long because there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Martin said. “We’ll find out if this is the real thing against a team like Chantilly.”