RALEIGH — Leesville Road’s sluggish first half gave way to an explosive second half in its 54-17 win Friday over visiting Millbrook in 4A Cap-8 conference play.
Leesville led 21-10 at halftime, partially thanks to an Evan Parker 15-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left in the first half.
In the second half, the Pride (8-0, 5-0) rattled off 33 straight points to build a 54-10 lead and remain undefeated on the season.
“Millbrook came out in the first half and kind of punched us in the mouth,” Leesville Road head coach Chad Smothers said. “Good teams have to respond to that and I think that we did.”
Leesville controlled the game tempo on the ground utilizing big running plays. Parker, Braxton Berrios and Maurice Lauchner each had over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Kamir Bowen added two touchdowns and 73 yards on the ground.
Millbrook kept it close in the first half. Trailing 7-0 early, The Wildcats (2-7, 1-4) got on the board with a 32-yard field goal by Jarret Cervi early in the first quarter to trail 7-3. Then the Wildcats recovered an onside kick at the Pride 36-yard line. However, Millbrook couldn’t capitalize on the possession. A high snap over the head of Lamar Harris pushed the Wildcats back to its own 47-yard line, forcing the Wildcats to eventually punt.
Evan Parker capped a 13-play, 85-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, giving the Pride a 14-3 lead. But Millbrook answered on its next possession with a 6-yard scramble by Harris. Millbrook benefitted from a 41-yard catch-and-run by Andrew Ezebuiro from Harris. The TD closed the gap to 14-10 with only 1:53 left in the first half.
The remaining time was enough for Leesville Road who only need 1:24 to go 82 yards, resulting in Parker’s touchdown.
According to Smothers, Leesville played like they had a chip on its shoulder in the second half.
Berrios scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 12 and 5 yards. Kamir Bowen followed in the fourth quarter with TD runs of 29 and 21 yards. Lauchner added his second touchdown with 4:33 left in the game. When the dust settled, Leesville led 54-10.
Millbrook got one last score when back-up QB Brian Miller hit Corey Cooper in the end zone on a 23-yard pass play to make it 54-17.
“Every week we just try and get better,” Smother said. That seems to be the philosophy he preaches on the practice field, the locker room, and postgame interviews. A philosophy that has the Pride undefeated and sitting on top of the Cap-8 conference.