Like many of his teammates, Sage — a 6-foot-2, 290-pound junior offensive and defensive lineman — was not happy with the way Lee’s season ended last year.
The Generals stood at 5-3 last year and appeared poised to make a season-ending run for the playoffs. Instead, back-to-back losses to John Battle and Abingdon to end the season left them outside the postseason picture.
This year, the Generals plan on changing that scenario.
“I was disappointed with last year, but you can’t dwell on the past. You have to move on,” said Sage, who is raising a few eyebrows in the collegiate recruiting ranks.
James Madison is recruiting him heavily, and Sage has attended several NCAA Division I camps, including Clemson and South Carolina. He’s also received camp invitations from North Carolina and Mississippi State.
Sage said he’s very interested in hearing something from Virginia Tech.
“My grandfather played baseball there and my whole family loves Virginia Tech,” he said.
While the recruiting attention is nice, right now Sage is more concerned with the upcoming high school season and helping the Generals pick up more wins.
“He’s a guy that is looking to go out and make his mark as a leader,” said Generals coach Jeremy Pendergraft.
Sage doesn’t mince words when discusssing his hopes for the Generals.
“I want to put Lee High back on the map,” he said. “We’ve been disrespected for too long and I want to put us back in the place where we belong: back on top.”
The junior, returning alongside several experienced players, is looking for big things from his team this year.
“I’ve never played and trained with a more devoted and dedicated group of guys,” Sage said. “This is something special this year and I can promise you there’s going to be something special coming.”
Sage and the rest of the Generals will be challenged playing in the always-tough Mountain 7 District.
But the desire and the determination appear to be there in abundance.
Lee opens regular-season play with a tough nondistrict, interstate challenge against Tennessee High.