On Saturday, September 24, the Leesville Road varsity football team blew out the Broughton Capitals 71-21 in Leesville’s Homecoming game.
With the win, the Pride move to 5-0 on the year and remain tied for first place in the Cap-8 conference.
After the game was postponed Friday night due to rain and poor conditions, the Pride saw the delay as an opportunity, not a setback. Brendan Lough, senior, said, “I liked how it was a Saturday game, but nothing was all that different. We were all still really pumped to play, especially against our rivals, Broughton.”
Coach Chad Smothers echoed those feelings: “I felt we were extremely ready to play.” Leesville showed that energy early on. After an early interception by Derahjai Robinson, Leesville scored on a short touchdown run by DJ Hunt, giving them a 7-0 lead. Then, on Broughton’s second offensive possession, Jordan Gaston intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown, putting Leesville up 15-0 after the two-point conversion.
Lough felt that, at that moment, just minutes into the game, the Pride had already sealed the victory. “When Gaston had that pick-six, you could already tell it was over,” said Lough. Gaston, senior, may not have felt that way yet, but was still happy with his touchdown. Gaston said, “It felt great to score because this is such a big rivalry game.”
On Broughton’s third offensive drive, Tucker Bell forced a fumble, and a short run by Hunt gave Leesville a 22-0 advantage just minutes into the game. Smothers agreed that those three early turnovers made the difference in the game. “To get three turnovers like that was kind of like lighter fluid for our guys,” said Smothers. “Also, it had to have been deflating for Broughton.”
All in the all, the Pride managed to take the ball away from the Capitals six different occasions without ever giving it up themselves. Gaston acknowledged the impact the turnovers had on the overall outcome of the game. “Offensively, we scored a ton of points and on defense, we managed to stop the run and limit the pass. But the big difference was the turnovers; you just can’t expect to win when you give the ball away like that.”
Taking advantages of the Capital’s poor play, Leesville capitalized on Broughton mistakes and went on to break the school’s single-game scoring record with 71 points. Lough appreciated that the team has done so well during his final year. “It’s definitely better to be doing all of this as a senior. You’ve put in the work and been dedicated over the years; it feels great knowing that your last season is going to be awesome.”
Still, while the Pride can celebrate their victory, they cannot dwell on it. Going away to face undefeated Wakefield (6-0) on Sept. 29 will prove to be the team’s toughest test so far, but that doesn’t scare the Pride. Said Lough, “I feel pretty good about this next game. I’m confident in my teammates and my coaches, and I know we’ll be as prepared as we can be.” Gaston felt the same way, recognizing that Leesville has kept a strict focus so far this season with positive results. “Every week, we just focus on playing football and our responsibilities, individually and as a team,” said Gaston. “If we can work hard in practice and do that again, we stand a pretty good chance.”