WAKE FOREST — Leesville Road wanted to leave no doubt Friday, as the Cap Eights top team cruised to a 36-7 win over Wake Forest-Rolesville in the regular season finale.
The win gave the undefeated Pride the outright conference championship title, and dropped the Cougars behind Wakefield in the Cap Eight standings leading into the playoffs.
Leesville Road coach Chad Smothers said a 29-point lead was not promised when playing a strong team like Wake Forest-Rolesville, especially at this point in the year, but the Pride played an opportunistic game, capitalizing on turnovers.
Leesville controlled the game from the onset, scoring on its first drive with a Kamir Bowen six-yard carry. Leesvilles next two scores would come at the hands of quarterback Evan Parker and junior Braxton Berrios. The duo connected twice in the waning seconds of the first two quarters, the first on a 55-yard strike off of a broken play, and the second a 21-yard touchdown pass to close the half.
Wake Forest-Rolesville got on the board when Bryce Love broke free for a 53-yard score with 4:42 left in the half, but the Cougars fumbled on their next possession, giving Leesville possession on its own 21-yard line and setting up the Prides last score of the half.
That play may have been an early dagger for the Cougars.
It was a game changer in that it gave them back the momentum and gave them more points going into the half, said Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Reggie Lucas.
The Cougars fumbled twice more in the third quarter, both early in their possessions. While Wake Forest couldnt keep possession of the ball, the Pride kept putting points on the board. Bowen carried in another score for the Pride followed by a successful Leesville two-point conversion, and Malcolm Hitchcock ran in the Prides final score in the fourth with a 21-yard carry.
Bowen led the Pride with 121 yards on 19 carries. Berrios added 114 on seven carries and Parker passed for 106 yards on 6 of 11 passes. Love led the Cougars with 88 yards on seven carries.
Smothers said it was important for the Pride to bounce back from a lackluster performance the week before and regain momentum heading into next week.
Every Friday from this point on is a game like this, Smother said. Every team in North Carolina has to be ready to play in week one. Its survive and advance.