Two-time defending state champion Wake Forest extended its winning streak to 43 and advanced to the semifinals for a third straight year in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA state playoffs.
The Cougars (12-0) rolled up 220 yards rushing and 206 passing in a 41-10 win over Leesville Road (10-3) on Friday night at Trentini Stadium.
Wake Forest, which had a first-round bye and beat Fuquay-Varina in the second round 55-7, overpowered The Pride on its first possession. The Cougars drove 82 yards and 11 plays with senior running back Demarcus Jones scoring on a 5-yard run.
However, a blocked extra-point kick opened the door to a rarity -- the Cougars trailing in the second quarter.
Leesville Road, aided by a roughing the punter penalty, took a 7-6 lead when Noah Burnett caught a touchdown pass and kicked the extra-point. He scored on a 6-yard toss from Vince Amendola with 8:59 left in the first half.
But the lead lasted only 1:30.
Wake Forest senior Keishmund Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to the Leesville Road 15. Senior quarterback Mateo Sudipo scored three plays later on a 1-yard run for a 13-7 lead.
The Pride, who lost to Wake Forest by only 13 points (31-18) when they met in non-conference midseason game, trailed only 20-10 at halftime thanks to Burnette’s 40-yard field goal.
But Wake’s defense stiffened as the Cougars outscored Leesville 21-0 in the second half. Traevon Kenion scored on a 43-yard pass, Maquel Haywood on a 9-yard pass and Jones on an 8-yard run.
Sudipo completed 7-of-9 passes for 207 yards with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.
Kenion finished with five catches for 162 yards. His 76-yarder in the second-quarter set up Haywood’s first TD, a 4-yard run . Haywood ran 14 times for 78 yards and one TD in addition to his TD catch.
For Leesville, Amendola was 14-of-25 for 147 yards and one TD. Burnette caught four balls for 56 yards.