The Middle Creek Mustangs cruised to their 12th victory of the season after defeating Leesville Road 51-14 in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA football playoffs.
The Mustangs came into the playoffs as the top seed in the East, 11-0 out of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference. They handled the 16th-seeded Pride with ease, scoring on their first three drives of the game.
Middle Creek will face Millbrook next week in the second round after the Wildcats defeated Wakefield.
Leesville Road (5-7) struggled to move the ball for much of the game. Of their seven first-half drives, the Pride had four turnovers and punted three times.
They threatened to score just twice in the first half, but the drives ended with interceptions.
After the Pride defense forced a 3-and-out to start the game, the Mustangs’ offense raced down the field, 50 yards in five plays, and ended with a 36-yard pass-and-catch from Dominique Shoffner to Johnathan Spencer for 36 yards. The quarterback-receiver duo hooked up twice for scores.
Middle Creek outgained the Pride 418 yards to 189.
Shoffner threw for 173 yards and spread the ball around, hitting seven different receivers. DeAndre Jones and Darian Fogg led the rushing attack, with Jones rushing for 75 yards and Fogg gaining 76.
Leading 24-0 at the half, Middle Creek picked up right where it left off. The Mustangs scored on back-to-back drives, runs of eight and 38 yards by DeAndre Jones to put the game out of reach, making it a 38-0 game with just four minutes ticking off the clock in the third quarter.
Leesville used Evan Provost and Cooper Eason-Riddle at quarterback, but both struggled against an active Mustang defense. Starter Clay Vick, who was hurt during the nonconference portion of the schedule, started last week in an upset of Wakefield but got hurt again late in the contest.
Provost threw for 70 yards and three interceptions, and Eason-Riddle had one pick and just 43 yards passing.
The Pride finally got on the board when Patrick Rice broke several tackles on his way to a 26-yard touchdown run with 4:34 left in the third quarter.