Lee Academy football coach Rick Johnston preached the team concept going into the 2019 season and the athletes are being rewarded.
Three athletes - Brett Wilson, Gage Murphy and Shane Griffin - were all rewarded by being able to play in the MAIS All-Star Game. That was higher number of Colts to be named all stars since Johnston took over as coach in 2017.
In a season where the Colts advanced to the Class 4A semifinals, they reached another milestone as five seniors were named to the 4A All-State team. Once again, that was most amount of Colts to receive the honor in Johnston’s three years leading the team. Wilson made the All-State team as a quarterback, Murphy made it as a running back, Griffin made it as an offensive lineman, Seth Campbell made it as a middle linebacker and Landon Wong made it as an outside linebacker.
“When we started out, we talked about team, team, team and a family,” Johnston said. “If we were able to get that done, then the individual awards will come and, now, these guys, deservedly so, are reaping the benefits of having a good season. Now, the individual awards are awarded to them.”
Wilson said his best game came in a 28-21 win at home against North Delta in a district matchup. He believes the team success will continue.
“I think it should push them harder and get to the next step,” Wilson said.
Wilson, who is at the wing position, hopes to play basketball in college. He also runs the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays in track along with the 300-meter hurdle and competes in the long and high jumps.
Murphy’s favorite moment for the season was a 60-yard run at Riverfield while the Colts led 14-0. They did not score on the drive.
“It meant a lot to be on the Lee Academy team,” Murphy said. “Last year, we weren’t so good. This year, our senior class, I feel like we played our hearts out. It’s just a blessing to play with all of them.”
Campbell felt the unity on the Colts contributed to their success.
“We bonded,” he said. “We came together as a team and we played a lot better and more consistent.”
Griffin said one of his fond memories came in the 21-14 playoff win at home against North Delta. He made a key block on a Murphy 20-yard touchdown run.
“I feel good,” Griffin said. “It’s just a pleasure to be honored for all of the hard work we put in.”
Wong had two sacks and a fumble recovery in a 35-8 victory at Tunica Academy. It was Lee’s third consecutive win after starting 0-2.
“We were starting to come together better,” Wong said.
Wong believes the Colts will be able to continue winning.
“Hopefully, they try to fill our shoes and keep it going,” he said.
“We have a lot of talent here.”