Future Ohio State Teammates tangle in D-II State Semifinal

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Darron Lee makes an interception in the final minute of the Eagles 32-30 win over Marion-Franklin. (thisweeknews.com)

Darron Lee of the New Albany High School football team might have one
regret about playing in a Division II state semifinal Friday. “I won’t get to go shopping,” the senior quarterback and defensive
back said jokingly. Instead, the Ohio State commit will get a shot at defending state champion Trotwood-Madison…


Darron Lee of the New Albany High School football team might have one
regret about playing in a Division II state semifinal Friday.

“I won’t get to go shopping,” the senior quarterback and defensive
back said jokingly during the postgame huddle after the fourth-seeded
Eagles defeated third-seeded Marion-Franklin 32-30 on Nov. 16 in the
Division II, Region 7 final at Gahanna, earning a showdown with
defending state champion Trotwood-Madison at Piqua.

Lee has himself to thank in large part for shopping not being on his
day-after-Thanksgiving itinerary. He had an 82-yard punt return for a
touchdown, threw two touchdown passes, ran for a 36-yard touchdown and
intercepted Red Devils quarterback Corry Benson in the final minute to
seal the Eagles’ victory.

“Every coach will tell you big players make big plays in big games,”
New Albany coach Mark Mueller said referring to Lee, an Ohio State
recruit. “We had a lot of big plays tonight and so did
(Marion-Franklin). Darron came up at the end and made an Ohio State
play.”

The Eagles, who won their 11th consecutive game after a 0-2 start and
claimed their first regional championship since 2006, trailed 16-6
within the first 4 minutes, 16 seconds. Benson had a 2-yard touchdown
run, New Albany’s Alan Watson answered with a 1-yard scoring run and
Marion-Franklin’s Darien Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards
for a score.

But the Eagles didn’t trail again. Lee threw a 39-yard touchdown pass
to Carson Tunney with two minutes left in the first quarter, had his
punt return after Marion-Franklin’s next possession and threw a 48-yard
touchdown pass to Joe Siegenthaler with nine minutes left in the first
half for a 26-16 lead.

Lee ran for his score on the third play of the second half, but
Marion-Franklin ran 30 of the game’s next 36 plays, getting within 32-30
on Joe Alverson’s 12-yard touchdown run and a 1-yard scoring run by
Alijahwon Tarvin.

“We knew what we were getting ourselves into. It was a
rollercoaster,” Lee said. “We just had to stay together and hang as a
team and we’d come out on top in the end.”

In 2006, New Albany defeated DeSales 10-6 in the Division III, Region
12 final and lost to eventual state runner-up Kettering Alter 31-7 in a
state semifinal.

Trotwood-Madison, which also is 11-2, won its third consecutive
regional championship Nov. 16, beating previously undefeated Cincinnati
Turpin 42-14 in the Region 8 final.

The Rams, who defeated Marion-Franklin 47-44 in a state semifinal
last year and beat Avon 42-28 in the state championship game, flashed a
deep supply of weapons against Turpin. Coach Maurice Douglass started
freshman…

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