FISHERSVILLE – James Hickey, the voice of the James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes, paced in the Wilson Memorial press box Friday night, rehearsing his lines that began with, “And now Virginia’s Finest …”
That line didn’t lie. The Dukes marching band was phenomenal at halftime of the Robert E. Lee at Wilson Memorial football game, getting joined on the field by the bands from Wilson, Lee and Riverheads.
The football teams? Well, perhaps not Virginia’s finest at this point of the season.
Lee High and Wilson Memorial combined to play an ugly game Friday night, one filled with penalties. In the end Lee won 17-7 to improve to 1-1 on the season. Wilson dropped to 0-2.
It was the first win for Lee’s new coach, Scott Girolmo.
“We desperately needed to see some results from all of the hard work that we’ve done to prove that what we’re doing is a great investment,” Girolmo said. “I keep preaching the investment, not sacrifice.”
Wilson turned the ball over on downs on its first possession and then fumbled it away on its second drive, giving the ball to Lee at the Hornets 45.
Lee capitalized on that turnover, getting a 21-yard pass from Tavian Brown to Zachary Simmons to the 1 before Simmons got the only score of the first half on the next play with a touchdown run. The PAT put Lee up 7-0, where the game remained at halftime.
Lee went in front 14-0 late in the third quarter after Brown’s 19-yard scoring run.
“Tavian was a captain tonight and the reason was because he came to practice every day this week with a great work ethic,” said Girolmo of his quarterback. “He stayed after to get extra time in. He has taken that investment concept to heart and proved himself. There’s a lot on his shoulders and he carries a heavy load, but he wants it.”
Wilson finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter after seven scoreless quarters to begin the season. Waynesboro blanked Wilson 18-0 last week.
The Hornets touchdown was helped in no small part by Lee penalties, one on a late hit and the other on a roughing-the-kicker call when Wilson missed a 17-yard field goal.
The roughing-the-kicker penalty gave Wilson a first down at the Lee 5 and Zach Denton scored on the next play to cut the Wilson deficit to 14-7.
“We play so aggressive, we play so hard,” said Girolmo. “I think a lot of times we are susceptible to penalties … when you play really, really hard sometimes you do get some flags. I think the officiating crew did a fine job tonight. We deserved every single one of them we got and we’ll learn from every single one of them.”
Lee was able to put the game away though with 3:14 left in the fourth when Justin Cromer kicked a 23-yard field goal for the final margin of victory.
Wilson got to the Lee 3 in the final seconds, but was unable to score again.
“Anytime you can beat a quality program like Wilson, what a tough, tough task for anybody,” said Girolmo. “Unbelievable how hard those kids play. Really, a feather in our cap.”
LEE HIGH 7 0 7 3 – 17
WILSON MEMORIAL 0 0 0 7 – 7
Lee- Simmons 1 run (McGrath kick)
Lee – Brown 19 run (McGrahth kick)
WM – Denton 5 run (McBee kick)
Lee – Cromer 23 FG