SENATOBIA — It's not where you start the season, but where you end up.
Little went right for Lee Academy in the 2020 football season opener at Magnolia Heights School Friday night.
Mistakes and turnovers led to the Colts (0-1) trailing 42-0 at one point and eventually falling to the Chiefs 54-7.
The mercy rule was in effect the entire second half, which meant there was a running clock.
Magnolia Heights dominated with time of possession early on to break out to a 21-0 lead.
The game’s opening drive lasted 5:12 and went 11 plays before the Chief quarterback had a 1-yard touchdown run on a keeper.
After a Lee three and out, Magnolia Heights scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to take a 14-0 lead with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Lee had opportunities on the ensuing drive as senior quarterback Luke Crumpton completed a 17-yard pass to receiver Gaines Barksdale at midfield on a tipped ball for a first down. The Colts drove to the Chiefs 35, but turned the ball over on downs giving Magnolia Heights possession with 9:31 to play in the half.
The Chiefs capitalized with a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:12 to play in the half to go ahead 21-0.
With Lee already in a three-touchdown hole, turnovers added to the deficit.
Crumpton was picked off with 5:55 remaining in the first half, which led to a 7-yard touchdown pass for Magnolia Heights. That extended the lead to 28-0.
Lee senior Graydon Gullick landed on the following kickoff at the Colts 5. Sophomore Sam Stonestreet lost a fumble on the next play giving the Chiefs possession at the Colts 7.
Magnolia Heights threw a 7-yard touchdown pass with 4:45 to play in the half to extend the lead to 35-0.
Lee had opportunities to score on the ensuing drive thanks to several long runs from senior running back Nickos Nolan. A facemask and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Chiefs on one play put the Colts in scoring position.
However, Nolan lost a fumble at the Chiefs 16 giving Magnolia Heights possession with 3:41 to play in the half.
Magnolia Heights capitalized with a 35-yard touchdown pass with 2:09 to play in the half to extend the lead to 42-0.
“We’ve got a lot of improving to do,” said Lee coach Rick Johnston. “We have to do a lot better. We have to do a lot of things better.”
Johnston did give the Chiefs credit for their performance.
“They did a good job tonight,” Johnston said. “They’re a good team. They did a good job tonight.”
Lee did manage to get on the scoreboard prior to the end of the first half to cut Magnolia Heights’ lead to 42-7 at halftime.
On a tipped ball, Crumpton completed a 28-yard pass to junior tight end Vance Johnson. That set up a Gullick 5-yard touchdown run with 30.7 seconds remaining in the half. Senior Michael Basha’s PAT cut the Chiefs’ lead to 42-7.
Nolan had a 26-yard run on the possession to set up the score.
Crumpton was picked off at the Lee 33 on the third play from scrimmage to open the second half.
Magnolia Heights capitalized with a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:10 in the third quarter. The PAT was blocked, so Magnolia Heights led 48-7.
Several of Lee’s younger athletes saw action during the fourth quarter including sophomore quarterback Bryan Ray.
Sophomore James Chicorelli had 13- and 6-yard runs for Lee during the fourth quarter, but the drive ended with a Gullick punt after a loss on a run.
Stonestreet had a sack during the fourth quarter, but Magnolia Heights came back with a 35-yard touchdown pass the next play. Chicorelli came in untouched to block the extra point, so Magnolia Heights led 54-7.
Gullick returned the following kickoff to the Chiefs 44, but there was only time for one more play.
When asked if he had anything else to say about the game, Johnston said, “I think it speaks for itself.”
Lee’s home opener is against Bayou Academy from Cleveland at 7 p.m. Friday.
Johnston said a key to winning would be stopping the Bayou Academy Colts from running the football.