It was supposed to be the year of the Green Wave again.
Flashback to 2008 — Leeds defeats Cordova 38-21 at Legion Field to win the Class 3A state title.
Two years later — at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, the Green Wave defeated Hamilton 42-32 for a second Class 3A state title in three years.
Which brings us to 2012. Last week at Homer Smiles Field, the Fayette County Tigers dashed hopes and dreams of a third state title in Leeds, beating the Green Wave 24-14 in the quarterfinals.
The Tigers used two big pass plays and a Leeds turnover to score their three touchdowns.
The first big play came on the third play of the game as quarterback Marcellus Redmond escaped a sack and found Jatevin Madison in the middle of the field. Madison caught the pass and turned it into a 58-yard touchdown with 10:58 remaining in the opening quarter. Hunter Walker added the PAT to make the score 7-0.
Leeds started its first possession of the game at the 30-yard line. They drove to the Tiger 21 with the help of a 34-yard pass play from quarterback Tadarryll Marshall to Trey Nation.
On fourth down, Morgan Coston missed a 34-yard field goal, but the Tigers were penalized for roughing the kicker. That gave Leeds new life at the Tiger 11-yard line.
Three plays later, Jonathan Hagler scored from four yards out with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter. Coston was true on the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
The two teams traded punts — twice. The second punt by Coston traveled 44 yards, and was downed at the Fayette County three-yard line.
The Tigers responded with the longest drive of the night by either team. They traveled 92 yards in 15 plays down to the Leeds 5-yard line. The drive used up most of the clock in the second quarter. With just seconds remaining before halftime, Walker kicked a 22-yard field goal to make the score 10-7 at intermission.
Nation had been held to seven yards on seven carries in the first half.
Fayette County head coach Lance Tucker said Leeds was much more physical than they were in the first half.
“We’ve got to come out ready to play in the second half, or it is going to be a long game for us,” Tucker said.
After the two teams traded punts to start the third quarter, Leeds put together a nine-play, 91-yard drive to take its only lead of the game. The drive was aided by two offside penalties by Fayette County. The key play in the drive was a 44-yard run by Nation that got the ball to the Tiger 42.
For the game, Nation had 91 yards on 17 carries.
But it was his halfback pass to Jabari Rogers from 15 yards out that gave Leeds the lead with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter. Coston was good on the PAT, and Leeds was on top, 14-10, headed into the fourth quarter.
The lead didn’t last long for the Green Wave, however; on the very first play of the final quarter, Redmond and Madison hooked up again—this time for a 65-yard touchdown. The duo hooked up five times on the night for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The PAT by Walker was good to make the score 17-14 in favor of Fayette County.
Four plays later, Marshall was hit, fumbling the ball with Madison recovering the loose ball at the Green Wave 21.
Three plays later, Redmond called his own number and scored on a two-yard quarterback keeper. Walker’s extra point was good as the Tigers extended their lead to 24-14.
Leeds drove from its own 44-yard line to the Tiger 6-yard line. With 3:04 remaining in the game, they attempted a 27-yard field goal, but it was wide left.
Fayette County went on to win the game 24-14.
Leeds coach Keith Etheredge said turnovers cost the team a chance to win.
“We missed a couple of opportunities,” Etheredge said. “We missed the field goal there at the end. If we make that, we still have a shot.”
Etheredge said he is very proud of the season.
“We had several injuries throughout the year,” Etheredge said. “These kids have played their hearts out all season.”
Leeds finished the year 11-2.