High School Sports

Wake Forest rolls to 4AA playoff victory over Leesville Road

Wake Forest’s Bryce Love (22) runs past Leesville Road’s Max Reconnu (1) during the first quarter.
Wake Forest’s Bryce Love (22) runs past Leesville Road’s Max Reconnu (1) during the first quarter. newsobserver.com

Wake Forest held true to form Friday, quickly running away with a 42-13 win against Leesville Road in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association football playoffs.

The Cougars, the defending 4AA East champions and this year’s No. 1 seed in the region, were without coach Reggie Lucas, who was suspended Wednesday after being charged with a DWI this week.

Four Cougars reached the end zone, including three rushing touchdowns by senior Bryce Love – his longest a 93-yarder during the fourth quarter to cap Wake Forest’s scoring.

Wake Forest (12-0) scored 35 unanswered points to begin the game, jumpstarted by a 52-yard run by Devon Lawrence 11 seconds in.

“Coming out, it’s a playoff game and having something like that with a (freshman), we knew that Leesville was going to come out fired up. They’re a well-coached team. So to come out like that and run a jet the way Devon did” was big, said Wake Forest running backs coach and junior varsity head coach Glendon Dillard.

Love, who finished with 227 yards on 16 carries, ran in a 45-yard score later in the quarter for his first touchdown of the night. Shy’heem Mitchell ran in a 15-yarder, and quarterback Mack Moore found Brooks Cunningham on a 24-yard passing touchdown in the second.

Wake Forest held the Pride scoreless until quarterback Clay Vick connected on two scoring plays – a 38-yard pass to Elisiah Richardson and a 31-yard strike to Connor Eller in the fourth.

Vick completed 20 of 36 passes for 225 yards. Richardson hauled in eight of those completions to finish with 150 yards receiving.

Wake Forest had topped Leesville Road 35-18 last month in a regular-season Cap Eight 4A meeting. Leesville Road ends its first season under coach Mike Hobgood with a 5-7 mark.

Wake Forest will host Pinecrest next week.

“Our kids do a really good job of just going week-by-week,” Dillard said. “It’s kind of bred into them to where they’re programmed to going one step at a time, and that’s something you’ve got to do if you’re going to have success in the playoffs.”