STAUNTON — A Waynesboro mistake to start the second half may have turned the momentum toward Robert E. Lee.
Trailing by six, the Little Giants mishit the kickoff coming out of halftime.
What should have been straightaway kickoff, turned into what appeared to be an onside kick.
Lee’s Jaymond Venable-Chisley picked up the ball at his team’s 48 and returned it to the end zone. Justin Cromer’s extra point put Lee up 27-14 and gave all the momentum to the Leemen.
Robert E. Lee’s Brendon Witherspoon, right, celebrates with teammate Zach Simmons after Simmons scored a touchdown against Waynesboro during the Leemen’s 55-20 win over the Little Giants on Friday.
Lee went on to score twice more in the third quarter and routed Waynesboro 55-20 Friday night at Staunton Memorial Stadium.
“That wasn’t what he was trying to do,” Waynesboro coach Derek McDaniel said of his kicker. “He just mishit the ball. We weren’t prepared for it up front so basically we ran by it. No, that wasn’t intentional.”
It was Lee’s 18th-straight win in this football rivalry.
The Leemen haven’t lost to Waynesboro since 1997 and it’s been ugly in recent years. Lee has scored at least 40 points the past five meetings, and has gone over 50 four times.
After the kickoff debacle, Waynesboro had another mishap in the kicking game when a punt was blocked and Lee’s Mikal Dobbins returned it 16 yards for the score. Venable-Chisley blocked the punt.
“When he blocked the ball, I saw the ball go left,” said Dobbins. “I heard from the back, ‘Scoop it.’ So then I scooped it and [Venable-Chisley] was the lead blocker from me into the end zone.”
Lee coach Scott Girolmo said what they saw when scouting Waynesboro led them to believe they could rush the punt and still stop the fake.
“We want to block punts as part of our mentality,” said Girolmo. “To be very aggressive in special teams.”
Brendon Witherspoon added his second touchdown of the night to put Lee in complete command 41-14.
“We played our butts off to open that thing up as wide as we got it,” said Girolmo.
Zachary Simmons scored three touchdowns for Lee and Ta’Corrious Strother added a late score in the Leemen’s homecoming victory.
When Steffan Thornton scored on an 8-yard run for Waynesboro in the second quarter, the Little Giants went in front 14-13. Lee scored the next five touchdowns though and were up by 35 points before Waynesboro would find the end zone again.
After back-to-back wins, Lee improved to 4-3 on the season. It has a bye week next week.
“The object is to slowly be the best that we are capable of becoming,” said Girolmo. “Through hard work, a blue-collar, hungry mentality, become the best that we are capable of becoming. We are slowly, but surely doing that.”
The loss drops Waynesboro to 3-4 on the season, but the Little Giants were 3-5 last season before starting a run that took them to the third round of the Group 3A playoffs.
WAYNESBORO 7 7 0 6 — 20
LEE HIGH 13 7 21 14 — 55
L – Simmons 22 pass from Brown (Cromer kick)
W – Baker 14 run (Dawson kick)
L – Simmons 14 run (kick failed)
W – Thornton 8 run (Dawson kick)
L – Witherspoon 11 run (Cromer kick)
L – Venable-Chisley 52 kickoff return (Cromer kick)
L – Mikal Dobbins 16 blocked punt return (Cromer kick)
L – Witherspoon 10 run (Cromer kick)
L – Simmons 8 run (Cromer kick)
W – Dawson 37 pass from Baker (kick blocked)
L – Strother 16 run (McGrath kick)