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October 13, 2012

Lee's INT seals win for New Albany

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

NEW ALBANY, Ohio - What a turn around it has been for Ohio State commit Darron Lee and his New Albany team this season. The Eagles lost a pair of heartbreakers to start the season, putting themselves in a 0-2 hole out of the gate. Since that time, Lee and company have regrouped to reel off six consecutive victories, the latest coming Friday night against Big Walnut by the score of 17-6.

"It was a great team win," said Lee. "That was a very good football team that we just played. They were fighting for the playoffs and they game planned really well and held us under 20 points which hadn't happened for a long time. It was a great team effort all around the board."

Playing in front of the home crowd on Homecoming night, the Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half and kept that lead going into the break. Big Walnut would score on its opening drive of the second half to cut the deficit to 10-6 but New Albany running back Alan Watson would finish the scoring with a 75-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

"We knew we needed this win," he explained. "It was our homecoming so we knew we couldn't fall into all that mess and we had to come out here and handle our business and fight for home field advantage (in the playoffs)."

Facing an 11-point deficit with just under five minutes to play, Big Walnut went to the air and tried to test the New Albany secondary on a deep post down the middle of the field. Lee channeled his veteran experience to stay deep from his safety position and make a leaping interception to seal the victory.

"I knew the play (from watching film)," he said. "I had seen it before so I knew it was coming and I had seen that formation so film study paid off."

Lee went up and high-pointed the football, bobbling it as he fell to the ground but he was able to secure the catch as he landed.

"I just knew that I had to control it," he said. "If they would have hit that play it would have been a great momentum changer for them so I knew I had to come away with it and I just didn't take my eyes off the ball."

After two weeks it looked like the playoffs might be out of the equation for New Albany but six wins later and the Eagles are sitting in great position and could possibly even earn a home game in the first round. Lee credits the bond that his teammates have with each other as a big reason for the turn around.

"We're a tight team, especially on defense," he explained. "The defense is really tight knit and the offense is finally starting to click. The first few games we had a lot of new kids that didn't really know their positions and stuff so they are learning. We only lost the first two games by a total of four points so it's not like we didn't know what we were doing."

New Albany isn't the only team riding a six-game winning streak, however, as Lee's future teammates at Ohio State are off to a 6-0 start. Lee was on hand last Saturday night for the big win over Nebraska.

"That atmosphere was crazy," Lee said. "I had a wonderful time. I got to chill with Zeke (Elliott), Joey (Bosa), and Jalin (Marshall), and everybody. It was really fun and I can see myself playing there and making big plays."

Up next for Lee and New Albany is road game against Watkins Memorial (2-6) next Friday. A win in that game could clinch a playoff spot for the Eagles.

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