Run, run and then run some more.
Fourteen different players carried the ball for Leeds and they amassed 441 yards on the ground as the Green Wave easily defeated the Rams 56-0.
Leeds fumbled on its first possession of the game but scored touchdowns on the next seven possessions. Throw in a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cedric Vines and Leeds won easily.
The first touchdown came on a 44-yard run by Ladarius Rodgers with 7:32 left in the first quarter. The PAT by Keaton Glass was good as Leeds enjoyed a 7-0 lead.
The Rams fumbled on the very next play from scrimmage.
Five plays later, Shane McGinnis, who was filling in for Perkins at quarterback scored on a 25-yard keeper but the touchdown was negated due to a holding penalty. Three plays later, Daniel Falkner scored on a 14-yard run. Glass was true on the PAT to make the score 14-0 after one quarter of play.
Following the third punt from the Rams, Leeds drove 69 yards in 11 plays with the touchdown coming on a 13-yard run by Dedrick Forsythe. The extra point by Glass was blocked and the score was 20-0 with 8:26 left in the first half.
Five plays later, Vines added to the Green Wave lead as he intercepted a Ram pass and returned it 44 yards to the house for a touchdown. The PAT by Glass was good to make the score 27-0 with 5:38 left in the second quarter.
Leeds took over its next possession at its own 44 after the Rams turned the ball over on downs.
It took Leeds only five plays to get into the end zone with Rodgers scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 29-yard run. The PAT by Glass was good to make the score 34-0 at halftime.
Three plays into the second half, Rodgers, who finished with 193 yards on the ground, scored on a 36-yard run. Thee extra point by Glass was good to make the score 41-0.
After Sylvania turned the ball over on downs again, Leeds drove 77 yards in 10 plays to pad its lead. Key plays in the drive were back-to-back 20-yard rushes by Falkner and William Blaylock to move the ball to the Ram 4-yard line. The touchdown came two plays later on a 3-yard run by Falkner with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. PAT holder Jesse Turner bobbled the snap from center but he kept his composure and raced around right end for the two-point conversion to make the score 49-0.
Right before the end of the third quarter, Vines recovered a fumble and Leeds was in business at the Ram 33.
Six plays later, Blaylock scored from 13 yards out. The PAT by Glass made the score 56-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
After Rodgers took the ball away from a Sylvania runner, he raced to the Ram 5-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds late in the game. Leeds could have added another score but Etheredge chose to take a knee and run out the clock.
The Leeds defense held the Rams to 85 total yards and seven first downs.
Leeds distributed the ball around for players to help the running game. McGinnis had 30 yards; Samuel Johnson had 40 yards; Blaylock finished with 34 yards; Falkner had 37 yards while Forsythe finished with 32 yards.
“It was a great win for us,” said Etheredge. “Anytime you get to the playoffs, you have to win that first one if you want to advance. I think we ran the ball real well tonight. Our guys up front did a great job. Our defense played extremely well. The coaches did a great job this week getting the kids ready to play.”
Etheredge said Perkins is just banged up and his shoulder is giving him a little problem.
“Dan and Shane did a good job at quarterback tonight,” Etheredge said. “They both had a great week of practice and both are very capable. Shane did a great job until he had to go out in the second quarter after getting dinged up. Hopefully, we will have Rush back for the second round. We just wanted to rest him tonight. He is one of our key leaders and he was the MVP of last year’s state championship game.”
Leeds will host Glencoe in the second round of the state playoffs tomorrow. The Yellow Jackets downed Sardis 39-14 last week.
Earlier this season, in week seven, the Green Wave handed Glencoe (9-2) its first loss of the season 30-15.