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R.E. Lee Making First-Ever Appearance in Football State Championship Game

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Quarterback Jayden Williams was at the bottom of a dog pile following the victory by the Leemen in the semifinals Quarterback Jayden Williams was at the bottom of a dog pile following the victory by the Leemen in the semifinals
Head coach Scott Girolmo hugs senior QB Jayden Williams Head coach Scott Girolmo hugs senior QB Jayden Williams
STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) -

With the game on the line in double overtime in the VHSL Class-2 state semifinals, the R.E. Lee football team put the ball in the hands of Jayden Williams, and the senior quarterback delivered the game-winning touchdown.

Williams says, "I just had to get over the line, just to advance in the playoffs.  I had to do whatever I had to to get our team there."

Head coach Scott Girolmo says, "The eruption that happened when we scored, when Jayden crossed the goal line, is something that none of us will ever forget.  It's a wonderful, wonderful moment."

Williams had a unique perspective on the celebration.

"I was at the bottom of the pile, and everybody started jumping on me," says Williams.  "I was laying there, with my neck almost broke.  I was screaming for help, because all these people started jumping on me."

"I almost died, I think," Williams added, with a laugh.

The 2017 Leemen are the first R.E. Lee football team to ever make it to the state championship game.

Williams says, "It's amazing to make history with this group of people.  We've been playing since Day One, and it means a lot to be on that field, and in front of our community."

R.E. Lee will be facing two-time defending state champ Appomattox in the finals. 

The Raiders have won 43 of their last 44 games.

"We respect them, but we don't fear them as much," says Williams.  "(The titles are) like a record, almost.  It doesn't mean they're going to come out and smack us, or anything like that."

Girolmo adds, "They are absolutely a juggernaut.  Athletically, they are by far the most talented team we will have seen this year.  We have got one of the greatest challenges I've ever seen as a coach.  That's what historic moments, that's what great moments are made of: great challenges."

The Leemen and their eighteen seniors will have on more chance to make history on Saturday at 4:30 PM in Salem..

Williams says, "This has been a dream from the beginning of the season, and honestly, just to make it this far, has been an accomplishment that we really appreciate."