3AA Final: Wonders’ Lott shows toughness in loss
By Bret Strelow
WINSTON-SALEM ó A.L. Brown senior Jamill Lott held the 3AA runner-up plaque in one hand and an offensive MVP plaque in the other as Greensboro Dudley players stepped forward for recognition.
While cradling both awards with his left arm moments later, Lott clapped his right hand against the weighed-down left one.
Lott and the Wonders had their hands full in a 34-18 loss to Dudley on Saturday, but they exited BB&T Field with plenty of positive memories to take away from the 2008 season.
“I’m hurt because we lost; I’m excited because we made it this far,” said Lott, A.L. Brown’s offensive player of the game. “I’m just glad to be a part of it, glad to lead my team to the state championship game. Things didn’t work out like we wanted, but I’m glad we’re here and I had a chance to be in this position and that I had a chance to be part of something special.”
Lott, one of 27 seniors on A.L. Brown’s roster, helped the Wonders end a postseason losing streak to Charlotte Catholic and reach a state final for the first time since 1997.
Lott answered Dudley’s first score with a 60-yard touchdown throw to Colby Reid and found Zach Massey for a 14-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Lott finished 9-of-23 passing for 163 yards. He tossed two interceptions and took a pounding from the Panthers’ defense, which recorded five sacks.
A shot to the ribs during a pass to Reid with the Wonders trailing 34-6 in the final minute of the third quarter knocked Lott out of the lineup for one play. He started the fourth quarter with a 32-yard completion to T.J. Johnson.
“I’d say (Lott) has the biggest heart on the team,” starting running back Johnathan Williams said. “He just never quit.”
Lott wasn’t the only one.
An injury prevented standout linebacker Terrance Johnson from playing, and his absence altered junior Desmond Gray’s role. Gray, A.L. Brown’s defensive player of the game, made eight of his team-leading 12 tackles in the first quarter.
Fellow linebacker Chris Moore participated with a club-like wrap covering one hand and still made 10 tackles. Dominique Phifer used a similar accessory to protect one of his hands, and he had six stops.
Offensively, sophomore running back Travis Riley (injured knee) played sparingly. Head coach Ron Massey even joked that he didn’t know who on his team was lining up at receiver when Reid and Johnson limped to the sideline.
The pressure defensive linemen Josh Jones and Kelton Shepherd applied to Lott made an impression on Massey. Jones was named Dudley’s defensive MVP after registering two sacks and 12 tackles.
“Jamill’s probably real sore,” Massey said.
Williams credited Lott with pumping up his teammates and helping them regain their focus after the Wonders fell behind by 28 points.
Fellow captains Artrele Louis, Xavier Watson and Zach Massey accepted the runner-up plaque with Lott, who walked off the field alongside Watson and Williams.
Those five seniors and many more gave A.L. Brown fans a run to remember.
“I know the people in Kannapolis, they want to win state championships,” Ron Massey said. “I’m sure they’ll be disappointed and upset and all those things. I just hope they’ll reference everything to me and not the kids because I’m so proud of them. They deserve a lot for what they accomplished this year.”
By Bret Strelow email@example.com Davidson graduate Michael Kruse showed up in Raleigh nine months ago as an interested alum with... read more