The South Georgia quarterback, was pressed into duty when starter Andreco Hines re aggravated an ankle injury early in the game, led the Wildcats to a dominating victory at Daytona Beach.
“It would sure be nice if he had a repeat performance. He was outstanding in the game,” said South Georgia coach Derek Stingley. “Does he need to play that well? It's tough to say. We have to have a lot of people play well in order to beat these guys, in order to have a chance to beat these guys.”
The Thunderbirds presented quite a challenge for Lester and the Cats. They rank among the nation's leaders in total defense (10th), rushing defense (11th), scoring defense (16th) and passing defense (35th).
Offensive coordinator Charlie Davidson said Daytona's defensive personnel is as good as any South Georgia has seen all year. They're very athletic and they run a very sophisticated scheme.
The prospect, thereof, could be intimidating -- especially for a quarterback who prior to Sunday’s game lost the starting QB job over a month ago in that very building.
“He's the kind of guy that doesn't mind that,” Stingley said. “He's very confident and I think he enjoys the responsibility that he has and he's embracing it rather than letting the pressure buckle him. He's a guy that handles that part of the responsibility very well as far as the expectations and so forth.”
Lester's performance at The Ocean Center earned him Offensive Player of the Game honors.
Now comes the encore.
“He's a very confident young man and I expect that he will have another good football game,” said Stingley, who praised Lester's preparation, mentality and demeanor. “As good as the Daytona Beach game? That's anybody's guess. But I certainly expect him to play well.”
Prior to his career at South Georgia, Lester was a record-setting quarterback at Fort Valley State University.
Lester didn't see much game action, though, until being thrust into duty on South Georgia's second drive against Daytona Beach. After Hines aggravated his ankle, Lester entered the game and promptly completed a 31-yard touchdown pass.
It didn't, raise Lester's confidence.
“I've got to step up and take advantage of this opportunity that I've been given,” he said. “We've just got to come in ready to play and play to win.”
Now comes another question. Can the Wildcats, if necessary, do it again?
“I've just got to do my job. That's what it comes down to,” Lester said. “Go out there and play my game.”
Doing his part, he continued, to help the Wildcats work together and succeed as a team.
Mission accomplished, Cats win 62-41.