BIG STONE GAP — Brandon Simon’s 37-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining lifted the Union Bears to a 30-27 victory over Lee High in Friday night’s VHSL 2A West Region playoff opener at Bullitt Park.
The weather was continually cold and wet, but the gridiron excitement from start to finish made the tough spectator conditions worth enduring.
Union (9-2) will host Gate City (7-4) in next week’s second round. That rematch seems inevitable in hindsight, but the Generals never let the Bears take getting past them for granted.
Union quarterback Tanner Hall passed for 88 yards, including a 63-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Jay Gavin on Union’s opening series. Hall also had a 12-yard scoring run to trim Lee’s lead to 21-20 with 10:47 remaining in the game.
Bears running back Jake McCray had 103 yards rushing, including a 21-yard scoring run in the first half and a 45-yard touchdown run that tied it up at 27 on Simon’s extra point with 4:13 remaining to play.
Running back Mekyah Davis gave the Bears 60 yards rushing. Brandon Hubbard ran for 56.
Lee’s Ray Avery made expert use of the Generals’ brutally efficient offensive front. He led all rushers in the game with 156 yards, scoring two touchdowns.
Avery’s 14-yard TD run gave Lee a 14-7 lead with 2:37 remaining in the first quarter. He added a 3-yard scoring run for the halftime lead.
Fullback Cody Haynes rushed for 48 yards and had a 24-yard reception from quarterback Houston Sage in the third quarter that set up an errant 25-yard field goal attempt by Sage.
Sage also missed a PAT try in the first quarter.
The Lee High signal-caller did far more good than ill, passing for 50 yards and rushing for 42. He had a 1-yard scoring sneak in the first half and an 8-yard TD run in the riveting fourth quarter.
Lee coach Terry Martin led the Generals (5-6) to their first playoff berth since 1998.
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