Lee Academy’s junior high football program has won back-to-back district championship, but the 2020 team topped the performance of 2019.
The Colts went undefeated in 2020 after losing one game in 2019. That loss in 2019 was at Magnolia Heights School.
When the two teams played each other at Lee Academy in 2020, the Colts won 22-0.
“We were really good last year, but we didn’t see down the road how good Magnolia Heights was last year, but this year, we had our eyes on that,” said Colts junior high coach Chad Foster. “We knew how good they were. We came out and executed and won that game pretty handily.”
Foster said there were around 31 athletes on the junior high team with approximately 12 freshmen. He said, with the success the junior high program has had, at least 10 of those freshmen will likely continue playing in high school.
Foster is also the offensive coordinator on the high school team.
Freshman quarterback William Walker said the difference between the two district championship teams was the way the Colts came together in 2020.
“I’d say a difference from last year and this year was this year, we knew what we did last year, but we had to improve from that,” Walker said. “We had to do it better. We worked in the summer at football. We improved and we went undefeated this year winning the district championship.”
The Colts were ready for the Chiefs.
“The Chiefs came to town this year and we sent them straight back,” Walker said.
Freshman wide receiver Tanner Fava concurred.
“Last year, we didn’t know what we were coming into,” said Fava about the win against Magnolia Heights. “This year, I think we played better as a team. We played together this year. It wasn’t just a couple guys.”
Walker and Fava have had a strong rapport as quarterback and wide receiver at Lee Academy for close to 10 years.
“We’ve been playing together since first grade,” Fava said. “We’ve always been good together. He’s always throwing the ball to me. I’m always catching it. I guess it just carried over to know.”
“I’ve got to be able to trust him first,” Walker said. “So I trust when I throw it to him, he’s going to go out there and get it.”
Both freshmen were water boys on this year’s high school football team.
“I think it’s completely different from junior high because if you’re in high school and you’re still playing football, you want to be there. In junior high, you might be trying things out seeing how football, but high school, everybody wants to be there,” Fava said. “Everybody loves it.”
Walker also enjoyed being a water boy.
“I think it’s awesome being out there with the guys, seeing how they grow as a team, as brothers, being able to work and compete for bigger things as they get to high school,” Walker said.
Next year, as both freshmen play on the high school team, they know their roles will be different. Both are willing to play any position.
Walker has played quarterback and wide receiver in the past.
“As a ninth-grader out there this year, we were the bigger guys out there,” Walker said. “We were bigger than everybody, but next year, we’re going to be the small guys. I think we’re still going to get out there and have the same mindset and be able to work and do the same things we did.”
Fava has been a quarterback, tailback, slot receiver and long snapper.
“Next year, we’re hoping to still stay together as a team,” Fava said. “I might not be playing the same position since I’m a younger guy this coming year, but I’ve still got to contribute to the team next year. I think the same thing with William.”