By Will Heath, For The Tribune
LEEDS — Third-ranked Leeds slugged out a 42-13 win over region foe Corner on Senior Night at Homer Smiles Field.
The win secures home-field advantage for the Green Wave (9-0, 6-0) in the first round of the 5A playoffs. It also sets up a titanic matchup next Friday against undefeated Alexandria, to decide the Region 6 championship.
“Maybe (tonight’s game) will scare us into working a little harder,” Leeds head coach Jerry Hood said after the win over Corner. “We’re playing the best team in the state next week.”
The Yellow Jackets (2-6, 2-4) made sure the win on Senior Night would not come easy, opening the game with a surprise onside kick that set up a touchdown by junior Gavin Brown. To the surprise of the home crowd, the visitors led 7-0 early.
“I think that everybody that was in the stands tonight saw that our kids will fight,” Corner head coach Jon Cooper said. “They had the No. 3 team in the state on the ropes for a little while there.”
Challenged in the first quarter, Leeds leaned on a familiar face in tailback Rametrius Yelverton. The senior tied the game with 5-yard run late in the quarter, then scored on carries of 6 yards and 2 yards to give the Green Wave a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.
He would finish with 175 yards and 5 TDs.
“Our mindset just wasn’t mature, but I’m asking 15, 16, 17 year olds to be mature,” Hood said. “Sometimes they don’t. You got to win like that.”
The Green Wave allowed a touchdown right before half, as Corner’s Landon Peterson found Brodie Dunlap from 32 yards away as time expired. Peterson finished with 147 yards through the air, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“I don’t think we played as we could, as good as we can, the first quarter,” said senior linebacker Dontrey Harris. “The second quarter we came out and we just completed the job, got the job finished.”
Senior Devonte Megginson said the Green Wave wanted to “put them out early” in the second, and they did. First, Tanner Chambers picked off Peterson on the second play of the 3rd, and Yelverton scored two plays later. Chambers would intercept Peterson again before the night was over.
A possession after that Joshua Ruff scored from the quarterback spot.
“Once we made the adjustment, I thought our defense played lights out,”
Yelverton would add one more TD in the 4th quarter.
The night began with a ceremony honoring the senior class, which improved from a 2-8 mark two years ago to the precipice of a region title.
“They stayed the course, and have built this thing back where there’s a lot of pride about Leeds football,” Hood said. “This is a great group, set the bar high for us.”
Leeds will travel to face the Valley Cubs next week. Corner will finish region play on the road against Center Point.