By David Justice
RALEIGH - There was no letdown for undefeated Leesville Road and no quit in Sanderson Friday night as the Pride started strong in a 49-18 Cap Eight football victory.
Leesville, No. 2 in the News and Observer rankings, was coming off a huge win over previously unbeaten Wakefield last Friday. But junior star Braxton Berrios said the Pride coaches would not let the team rest on its laurels.
"This week was kind of sluggish for us but our coaches got on us a lot [Thursday] and we came out tonight and showed that we knew what they were talking about," said Berrios, who rushed for 70 yards on six carries in the first half and played just a little on defense in the second half.
Two of the runs went for touchdowns on 22 and 12 yards and he also caught a pass from quarterback Evan Parker that turned into an 86-yard scoring play as the Pride led 35-3 at halftime.
"I feel real good about the effort we had," Sanderson coach Tony Lewis said. "We spotted them 14 points and they're a very good team, but the kids played hard until the end and that's all I can ask of them."
A Sanderson penalty before the opening kickoff and a lost fumble on the Spartans first play from scrimmage opened the door for Leesvile to take a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game and 29-0 after the first quarter.
Kamir Bowen scored from the two for the first score and then Berrios notched his 22-yarder.Next De'Rahjai Robinson broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown run and Berrios added his 12-yarder.
"We came out and the kids did what we asked them to do, played with a lot of enthusiasm and came out rolling," Leesville coach Chad Smothers said. "You want to be getting better and better each week and I'm really proud of this football team. If you could see this team from week one to now, they keep getting better, working really hard."
Sanderson battled back to get a field goal from Greyson Gregory and touchdown runs by Sebastian Murray and Deandre Pitts.
Leesville showed its explosive depth in the second half with a 21-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Hitchcock and a 49-yarder from Mike Dahaney.
Sanderson juniors quarterback Matthew Koehler and receiver Marvin Motley teamed up for nine pass competions for 116 yards, all of Sanderson's passing statistics.