For the second year in a row, Leesville played Millbrook on the eve of Halloween, and the result this year was the same as the result last year. Thanks to good Wildcat defense all night long, the Pride were held to 12 points and lost by a final score of 28-12.
The Pride started sophomore quarterback Evan Provost instead of Cooper Eason Riddle this week and the results weren’t too flattering, as Provost threw four interceptions before the night was over. Millbrook quarterback Reid Herring, a senior and ECU commit, threw two touchdowns of his own and had the Pride safety’s running around all evening.
“I wanted to get back to what we did. We’ve moved the ball fairly well over the last couple weeks and it was just a decision to get back to what is best for our kids. We can throw, I’m not worried about that, but tonight it was just a few bad mistakes that hurt us,” said Leesville Road head coach Brad Wilson.
Leesville won the toss, but it went downhill quickly after that. With 5:59 left in Q1, Herring handed it off to senior Larry Roundtree for a short run into the endzone to make it 7-0. Shortly after, Herring found receiver Isaiah Bowman for seven more, making it 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Penalties would hurt the Pride as personal fouls and false starts plagued the team in the first half.
“It seems like every mistake we make is so magnifying, so huge, and we can’t recover,” said Wilson. “And if we do, we can’t do it for long before we make another mistake.”
Still struggling to gain any steam on offense, the Pride finally found the endzone with under 5:00 left in the second quarter when Provost found receiver Jordan Moore twice, one of which for a TD. However, Herring made sure that was all that happened for the Pride before the half, and added another touchdown to make it 21-6 at the half. Bowman had the TD reception again and the Millbrook defense was able to intercept Provost, one of four on the night, to seal the lead before halftime.
“He’s got to see yes or no, and he’s smart and he’s gonna be a good one, but he’s got some work to do,” said Wilson of his young QB after the game.
The Pride started the second half the same way they ended the first; Provost’s second interception gave the ball to the Cats almost immediately. The defense responded knowing that they had to come up with a few four and outs to stay in the game, and when the Pride got the ball back, they made it count. Provost and junior Matt Hamilton connected multiple times on the drive and he finished it off with a 19 yard TD reception to make it 21-12. Leesville went for two unsuccessfully so the score stayed the same.
“We work on it (special teams) and work on it at least three of four times a week and it’s just about our players concentration,” said Wilson.
Unfortunately 12 points was all the Pride would produce Friday night as Provost would go on to put together a few nice drives but threw two more costly interceptions that thwarted any comeback attempts later on. With 6:23 left to play, Roundtree found the endzone again, and he would cap off both teams scoring. The final score of the game was Millbrook 28, Leesville Road 12.
The impact players on the night for the Pride were Provost and Hamilton, both of which had big nights despite not much help. Provost finished 30-49, with 373 yards and two TD passes, but four interceptions. Hamilton finished with 118 yards and 12 catches for a TD, and Jordan Moore also caught a pass for a touchdown earlier in the game. Millbrook’s Roundtree and Herring both had over 100 yards of offense and scored multiple TD’s each. Despite the high interceptions, Wilson didn’t put the loss on the shoulders of his young QB.
“We played with a sophomore quarterback. I thought he played well. He made a couple bad decisions that hurt us, we had some dropped balls, we had some penalties that hurt us, we’re just still making bad mistakes in crucial situations.”
Many people were speculating this was Leesville’s last clear chance at a playoff bid, as they needed one win to get in. However with one game left against the second best team in the conference and a quarterback that is leading all others in nearly every statistic, the Pride will need all hands on deck against Wakefield if they have a shot at making the playoffs.
Kickoff against Wakefield is scheduled for 7:00 on Friday, November 6 at Marshall L. Hamilton Stadium. It will be senior night at Leesville and the theme is neon-out.