Sports

Wake Forest rolls past Leesville Road and into high school football playoff semifinals

Mateo Sudipo, left, of Wake Forest looks for a pass against David Sohn, right, of Leesville Road. The Leesville Road Pride visited the Wake Forest Cougars in a high school football game on November 30, 2018.
Mateo Sudipo, left, of Wake Forest looks for a pass against David Sohn, right, of Leesville Road. The Leesville Road Pride visited the Wake Forest Cougars in a high school football game on November 30, 2018. newsobserver.com

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.

Wake Forest defensive lineman Jaden McKenzie takes a ride with News and Observer reporter Jonas Pope IV and talks about his recruiting, why he is making his announcement on Dec. 19 and escaping Hurricane Katrina.

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.

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