Apex was first on the board, with Adam Nelson, quarterback, throwing a 32-yard TD pass to WR Gavin Locklear, capitalizing on a turnover caused by a bad snap by the Pride.
Despite a fumble near the goal line by Leesville, quarterback Josh Stanley passed to David Lowery on 3rd and 10 to produce a tying touchdown with 6:40 remaining in the first half.
The ensuing kickoff was returned 95 yards for an Apex touchdown by Quincy Mangum.
This was the turning point for the game for Austin Berrios and the Pride. “That made me want to score a lot,” Berrios told the News and Observer.
After the Cougars scored, Pride RB Ryan Mangum brought the Pride into Apex territory on consecutive runs for large gains, then finally pushed into the end zone from the 1-yard line to tie the game at halftime.
On the 2nd-half opening kickoff, Berrios struck back at the Cougars by returning the kick 96 yards for an easy touchdown. From this point on, the Pride dominated the game, easily containing the Apex offense and running the ball effectively.
Mangum punched in another TD, and Stanley ran for a 21-yard score; Cody Pyper, cornerback, and Ronald Harris, defensive end, each recorded a second-half interception.
The Pride’s performance in the second-half crushing of Apex reveals a distinct recovery from the loss at Panther Creek, pulling together a running game that generated over 350 yards and a team that can doubtlessly be dangerous to most teams in the Cap 8.