By John Goolsby, Prep Sport Editor
LEEDS-The Green Wave came into tonight’s game at Homer Smiles Stadium needing two things to happen to claim the 5A Region 7 number one overall seed.
First, Leeds needed to knock off 6A Center Point. Second, a Southside loss to Etowah.
History was on Leeds’ side as the Greenies beat the Eagles 28-0 in 2021.
The Green Wave took care of item number one by beating Center Point 22-0. The second item of need with have to wait 24 hours.
Quarterback Conner Nelson got Leeds on the board early in the first quarter.
Nelson kept the ball and scored on a 65-yard run down the sideline with 8:02 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT failed.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Eagles after they fumbled on the ensuing kick off.
Running back Chris Burg scored on a two-yard run with 4:50 remaining in the first to make it 12-0 after the PAT was once again missed.
Center Point headed to the locker room with zero points and four turnovers: two fumbles and two interceptions.
Leeds took the opening kickoff of the second half and put together a long drive.
The Green Wave drove to the Center Point 12 yard line before a penalty stopped the Leeds momentum.
Avery Langford made up for his two missed PATs by drilling a 28-yard field goal with 4:38 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The seven minutes and twenty-two-second drive gave Leeds a 15-0 lead.
The Leeds’ defense turned up the pressure and forced a Center Point punt.
The Eagles got a second chance after Leeds was called for roughing the kicker.
The Eagles moved to the Leed’s 45 but were forced to punt to open the final period.
A 15-play drive took the ball from the Green Wave 17 to the Eagle 8-yard line, stalled after two Green Wave penalties.
Leed’s set up a for another Langford field goal attempt, but called a fake instead.
Nelson hit Grayson Fors with a 14 yard strike to push the Greenies’ lead to 22- 0 with 1:46 left on the clock.
The Leed’s drive consumed ten minutes and fourteen seconds of the fourth quarter.
Center Point took over and picked up a first down but turned the ball over on downs.
Leed’s took possession and ran the clock out.
“Hats off to Leeds,” said Center Point head coach George Bates. “Defensively we couldn’t get off the field.”
“Offensively we couldn’t get anything going,” he said. “You can’t have turnovers and beat a top-ten team in 5A.”
“We have a lot of improving to do,” Bates said. “We play like this next week and it will be an early exit.”
“I want to enjoy more than the pre-game meal next week.”
Nelson had a big night offensively for the Green Wave with a rushing and passing touchdown.
He completed 10 of 17 passes for 98 yards and rushed 19 times for 158 yards.
“Coach Hood really prepared us well for this game,” Nelson said. “They have a bunch of athletes on their team, very quick.”
“Coach Hood prepared the offense to play hard and physical because they are a hard and physical team.”
“I like the ball in my hands,” he said.
Jerry Hood of Leeds was pleased with the effort of his team.
“I thought we played great defense, that is a potent offense,” Hood said. “You have to have such good eye discipline against them because they have such great athletes.”
“You have to space the field and then you have to make really good tackles.”
Leeds held Center Point to 66 yards of total offense on 36 plays.
“I’m proud of the kids,” he said. “That first drive was over eight minutes long and because of a mysterious delay of game penalty we ended up having to kick a field goal.”
Center Point and Leeds will be on action next week in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs.