By Will Heath, For the Tribune
LEEDS — Freshman Tay Gaiter didn’t mince words about his teammates’ mindset this week.
“Come (ticked) off,” Gaiter said.
Ninth-ranked Leeds certainly appeared angry on Friday night against region foe Alexandria, leading the Valley Cubs 27-0 after the first quarter and rolling to a 48-14 victory. The game allowed the Green Wave (5-2, 3-1) a chance to bounce back after the previous week’s loss at region leader Southside.
“Just prove that’s not us (at Southside),” said linebacker Miles Jones. “We just got to get back to ourselves, and play Leeds football. We did that tonight.”
Jones contributed an interception that set up a Green Wave touchdown in the second quarter, which made the score 41-0. Alexandria (0-8, 0-5) did not advance beyond the Leeds 48-yard line until midway through the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to show up every game,” said Leeds head coach Jerry Hood. “Just because you have Leeds on your shirt, doesn’t mean the other team’s going to lay over. I think we came out and executed at a high level tonight.”
Gaiter helped key a big-play offense for the Green Wave in the first half. On his first touch — the third play from scrimmage — he gathered in a bobbled pitch and took off for a 64-yard touchdown run. After a quick three-and-out, the freshman hauled in a Valley Cub punt at his own 20-yard line.
“I had to make one guy miss and go,” he said.
Tailback ZJ Dale contributed a 19-yard touchdown, and quarterback Conner Nelson ran in a TD from 54 yards. At halftime, Leeds had 326 yards of offense.
“We came out hard,” Gaiter said. “I love it.”
The Valley Cubs got 120 yards and two touchdown passes from quarterback Cole Wheeler. Jeffrey Beason hauled in both TD passes.
“Our young guys have got to see that this has got to cease,” Alexandria head coach Todd Ginn said. “You can’t keep playing like we did the first half tonight, and expect anything good to happen.”
Before the game ended, the Homer Smiles public address had already announced that tickets for next week’s game against Moody would go on sale after the final whistle. Green Wave players and coaches were quick to turn their attention to the fifth-ranked Blue Devils.
“It’s going to be an exciting game,” Jones said. “Two good teams going head to head. It’s going to be a really good environment to play in.”
Moody defeated St. Clair County 60-0 in a Thursday night region game. Hood called the Blue Devils “one of the premier teams in America.”
“We’re … the biggest underdogs in high school sports next week,” he said. “So we’re excited.”