Since the beginning of the season, the mentality of the Robert E. Lee High School football team had always been set towards the state final. “Our coaches’ expectations for us just really made the team more focused.” says Marcos Sasia, the team’s newest kicker, “If you weren’t ready to work, there was no reason for you to be on the field.”
After the high school’s shift from a 3A division to a 2A division, the football team needed to become acclimated to new competition, new game schedules, and new teammates. In this division, Lee would now be forced to play football powerhouses such as Luray High School and Riverheads. “We didn’t really see that much of a difference [in competition] in this division-- all of the teams were pretty good.” says Tre Simmons, a senior, “Playing these new teams prepared us better for our postseason games.” The team kicked off the football season with a massive win against Turner Ashby, ending with a 25 point lead. This game would set the tone for a successful 13-1-0 winning streak, losing only to Luray during the regular season. They would later recover from this loss, crushing the Bulldogs 38-6 in the regional championship.
Despite the team’s loss in Salem, the fighting spirit of the Leemen has gone beyond the limits of the field, affecting both the student body and the Staunton community. “I’m really going to miss the energy in the student section,” says Olivia Feinstein, “but the team’s success has made my senior year so much more memorable.” Olivia won’t be the only one graduating with memories of the Leemen’s victories; 13 members of the team will say goodbye to Lee High School in the Spring. “Although it didn’t feel very good to lose in the final, we still had a great season and grew closer as teammates. I’m really going to miss these guys.” Returning players, the student body, and members of the community hope to witness new victories next season, and will be ready to support Lee football next year. - Imani Hankinson & Marcos Sasia