The Leeds Green Wave advanced to the second round of the AHSAA state playoffs following a 61-27 victory over the Sipsey Valley Bears Friday.
Tre Nation had a career night as he had 337 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns. Nation had four runs of 30 yards or longer on the night. Leeds totaled 452 yards on the night.
Leeds, 10-1, now travels to Daphne Friday to take on Bayside Academy in second round action. Bayside, 7-4, defeated Dale County 50-10 last week. The two teams have met only once before, and that was two years ago in the state playoffs. Leeds won that game 49-7, and went on to win the Class 3A state title.
Leeds scored the first time they had the ball against the Bears. The key play in the drive was a 70-yard run by Nation to move the ball to the Bears’ 10 yard line.
On the next play, quarterback Tadarryll Marshall found Courtney Rose for a touchdown pass. The PAT by Morgan Coston was blocked, and it was 6-0 with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter.
On the next series, Jacoby Lockhart intercepted a Sipsey Valley pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. The PAT by Coston was good to make the score 13-0 with 3:49 remaining in the opening period.
The Bears had to punt the next time they had the ball, and it took Leeds only one play to add to its lead. Nation raced 34 yards for the score, and with Coston’s extra point, the score was 20-0 after the first quarter of play.
The Bears finally got on the scoreboard three plays into the second quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Lewis to Jamarius Leatherwood. The PAT by Kody Ewing was good, and with 11 minutes left in the second quarter, Leeds was up 20-7.
The Green Wave started the next possession at their own 45, and Nation took over. He had runs of 21, 15, 6, and the final 7 yards for the touchdown to make it 27-7.
The Bears were getting their offense in gear as they answered with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Braytan Smith to make it 27-14 with 7:29 left before halftime.
Leeds struck quickly as they drove 53 yards in only three plays to add to its lead. The touchdown came on a 15-yard run by Jonathan Hagler. The Coston PAT made it 34-14.
Following a Sipsey Valley punt, Leeds marched 80 yards in six plays with Hagler scoring on yet another 15-yard run to make the halftime score 41-14.
Leeds continued its offensive onslaught in the second half as they marched 53 yards in eight plays to add to the lead. The touchdown came on a four-yard run by Ronald Woods to make it 48-14.
The Bears scored the first time they had the ball in the third quarter, driving 81 yards in eight plays. The touchdown came on a 10-yard run by Carson Windle to make it 48-21.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Nation scored on a 43-yard run to make it 55-21 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bears scored early in the fourth quarter on a 63-yard pass from Lewis to Smith to make it 55-27.
The last touchdown of the game came on a 13-yard run by Nation to make the final score 61-27.
Leeds head coach Keith Etheredge said he was pleased with how his team played offensively.
“Tre had an unbelievable game, and that is pretty good for a freshman,” Etheredge said. “He gets better with each game. He soaks everything up and grinds out yardage. He is a north-south runner, and that’s the kind of guys I like. Our offensive line and fullbacks did a great job blocking. Jabari Rogers also did a great job blocking downfield. It was just a total team effort.”
Defensively, the Green Wave gave up some yards and some points. The 27 points is the most Leeds had given up in a single game all season. They had given up just 24 points the last five games of the regular season.
“Our defensive coaches had a great game plan,” Etheredge said. “We missed a lot of tackles, but their quarterback had a lot to do with that.
Although Etheredge is pleased with the win, he is not happy about traveling five hours to Daphne to play Bayside Academy.
“We are doing all this traveling to play a three-seed,” Etheredge said. “We worked hard all year and busted our butts to win the region to become a one-seed.”
Etheredge said he believes Bayside Academy is a lot better team this year than in 2010 when they defeated them 49-7.
“They have Jonathan Walton, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 230-pound guy who plays tailback and linebacker,” Etheredge said. “He is a load and a real good player. I understand he has received an offer from Penn State.”