Clinging to a 14-13 lead late in the third quarter, the Leesville offense — backed up on their own 20-yard line after two threatening Enloe drives produced no points — desperately needed a big play to swing the momentum.
Then Clay Vick, junior quarterback, found Elisiah Richardson, senior receiver, open and streaking across the middle. 67 yards later, the Pride were threatening inside the red zone, and a 13-yard connection between the same two players on the next snap capped off the two-play drive.
The explosive catch-and-run play proved the turning point for Leesville, which pulled away from Enloe in the second half for a 28-13 victory. After spoiling both Broughton and Sanderson’s homecoming games earlier this month, the Pride completed the trifecta by winning on their own night.
Mike Hobgood, head coach, attributed the win to the consistency the offense achieved both passing and running. “Offensively, we were balanced…so that was good and that’s what we have to be,” he said. “We thought we could run the ball a little better tonight [than last week vs. Sanderson] and we did, and we still made some good plays in the passing game.”
Indeed, the biggest offensive weapons for the Pride (5-3 overall, 3-1 Cap-8) all produced impressive numbers on the box score.
Mike Dehaney, senior running back, carried 25 times for 202 yards, including a 63-yard scamper in the second quarter to give Leesville a 14-7 lead. Meanwhile, Vick completed a highly efficient 16 of 21 pass attempts for 212 yards and two touchdowns, with Richardson catching nine for 127 yards and Conner Eller, senior, six for 59.
“We ran it down their throats,” said Dehaney, who praised the blocking in front of him. The return of Matt Cross to the offensive line — which Hobgood says is “getting better each week” — helped Dehaney set a season high in yards.
Enloe (2-6, 0-4) gained almost all of their offense through the running of quarterback Cameron Lewis, who accumulated 105 yards, but even he struggled to find room as the night wore on. “Their quarterback is really athletic…but [they] weren’t the best passing team, so that allowed us to play up a little bit,” Hobgood said. “We swarmed to the ball better (in the second half).”
The Eagles struck first when a Vick fumble set up a Lewis touchdown run, but the Pride responded with a 70-yard drive — finished off at the goal line by Spencer Eason-Riddle — to tie the game at 7-7 after the first quarter. Lewis answered Dehaney’s go-ahead score with another touchdown run, but the fake extra point was stopped.
In the fourth quarter, Eller made a leaping grab in the endzone to put Leesville up by 15 with 6:45 left.
The Pride have now won three consecutive games after a disappointing 2-3 start. However, they’ll be huge underdogs next week at Cap-8 leader Wake Forest (8-0), a team that has averaged 43.1 points per game this season.
“These three wins…give us motivation for, as our coach just said, the big boys coming up: Wake Forest and Millbrook,” said Vick.
“We have the meat of the schedule [ahead], but we have confidence now and we know that we can play with these guys,” Hobgood elaborated. “We’re looking forward to it.”