RALEIGH — Undefeated Leesville Road has some pretty high expectations for this season and looked pretty convincing in its 37-5 Cap Seven 4-A football win over Wakefield on Friday night.
Still, coach David Green, who says the team goal is to be playing in December, and quarterback Thomas Wilson each said the Pride could play better.
"We played all right," said Wilson, who passed for three touchdowns and ran for another. "The first half was a little sloppy. Then at halftime Coach said some things and so did some of the players to get us fired up."
Leesville Road led 22-3 at halftime against Wakefield (4-4, 0-3 Cap Seven), which was missing about a dozen injured players and continued to be plagued by turnovers.
"We just never got into our game plan," Wolverines coach Chip Williams said. "We've got to coach the kids better, to be more disciplined, and I don't think I've ever had a team with as many turnovers as this team has.
"I've found that when players spend time in the weight room you have fewer injuries, and we've got to put in our time there."
Leesville Road (8-0, 3-0) got a break on the opening kickoff when Cameron Todd jarred the ball loose with a big hit and Mark Walker recovered the Wakefield fumble on the 22. Three plays later, Wilson threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide-open Taylor Gentry. Pete Mangum ran for the two-point conversion, and the Pride led 8-0 less than two minutes into the game.
On the first play of the second period, Leesville Road's Cody Lyon blocked a Wakefield field-goal attempt to set up a 32-yard drive, with Wilson scrambling 13 yards for the touchdown.
Wilson's 9-yard touchdown pass to James Weaver made the score 22-0.
Wakefield's lone points of the first half came on a 36-yard field goal by Bryson Rose that was set up by Donnell Redmond's 30-yard punt return.
"We had some big plays in the first half, but we weren't executing like we wanted," Green said. "Then the defense stiffened up and the offense played really well, particularly at the start of the second half.
"We took advantage of their turnovers, which we've done most of the year."
Wilson tossed two more touchdown passes to Gentry, covering 30 and 32 yards, in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 37-3.
Wakefield picked up a fourth-quarter safety on a snap over Leesville Road backup quarterback Will Sumrell's head with 5:56 remaining.
The Pride defense held Wakefield to 56 total yards. Zach Greene and Will Verser came up with third-quarter interceptions.
"Our linebackers [Mark Walker, Taylor Gentry and Jeff Davidson] are the key to us defending the run," Green said. "Those guys returned from last year, and all three do a good job.
"And Mangum and Lyon do a good job on run support from the secondary."
Wilson, one of the leading rushers on the team, completed 12 of 18 passes for 177 yards. Taylor caught six of the passes for 129 yards.
"We've got about four guys who run inside for us, and Wilson is one of them. Zach Greene gives us some speed outside," Green said. "And Taylor is one of the leading receivers in the state."
Wilson also appreciates his team's defense.
"It's one of the best defenses in the area," Wilson said. "I have a hard time facing them in practice."