By Erik Harris, sports editor
DORA — In a game that presented major trap potential, Leeds ran the football early and often on Friday night en route to a 35-13 road victory over Corner.
Win or lose on a chilly night in Dora, the Green Wave (8-1, 6-0) had already secured home-field advantage in the first round of next month’s playoffs. Either way, head coach Jerry Hood’s team would host sixth-ranked Alexandria next Friday for a shot at the Class 5A, Region 6 championship.
It’s happening, regardless.
And thanks to another solid outing from the Leeds defense to go with a rushing hat trick from sophomore Jeremiah Hunter, the Green Wave will roll into next week’s pivotal match up with the confidence of eight straight wins at their back.
“This was a hard game: you’re already locked in (for home field in the playoffs), Alexandria is up next and this is a good Corner team,” said Hood. “I was proud of the kids in the second half for coming out and doing what they were suppose to do.”
That’s when his team was at its best: in the second half.
Leeds was turned away at the Yellow Jackets’ 1-yard line as time expired on the second quarter. According to Hood, running back Rametrius Yelverton ran the wrong play on a second-and-goal from the 2, and Corner took advantage to keep the halftime deficit at 14-7.
Late-first half points look certain after quarterback Jarod Latta lofted a 32-yard completion to Brody Goodman down the left sideline. The connection set the Green Wave up at the Yellow Jacket 2 with about 10 seconds remaining on the second-quarter clock.
Latta tossed an incompletion on the following snap and Yelverton came up short on second down as the clock rolled empty.
“We throw a big ball to Brody Goodman that puts us down in scoring position, so you’ve got that opportunity now and our running back just did not run the play that was called,” said Hood. “He ran a different play and nobody is blocking for that guy. Otherwise, we would have scored there.”
Leeds would unleash in the third quarter, popping off 21 unanswered to put the game out of reach at 35-7.
It all started with defense, as Jacob Cain interception Corner quarterback Colin Daniel on the third snap of the opening third-quarter drive. The Green Wave took over deep in Yellow Jacket territory and Yelverton needed two carries to cover 14 yards to the end zone.
He and Hunter teamed up to gash the Corner defense on Friday night to the tune of 261 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Hunter ran for 130 yards and three scores to go with 131 yards and a touchdown from Yelverton.
Latta attempted seven passes, all of which came in the first half of play.
Hunter’s long came on his first rush of the second half — a 68-yard sprint down the right sideline for a 28-7 lead. He completed the hat trick minutes later with a 24-yard dash up the middle.
Leeds was stellar on defense, holding the Jackets to two scoring drives, which came on their first and last possessions of the night. Corner finished with 232 yards from scrimmage and was forced into six three-and-outs.
On a night full of run, run, run, Leeds showed some creativity late in the second frame on a fourth-and-8. Green Wave receiver Joshua Ruff took the snap and ran off right tackle where he pitched it to Christian Douglas on a reverse that went 31 yards to the house.
The well-timed call broke a 7-all tie and put the visitors out front for good.
Leeds is scheduled to host No. 6 Alexandria next Friday in a game that will decide the champion and runner-up of Region 6.