By Will Heath, For the Tribune.
BIRMINGHAM — For the second straight season, Leeds’ football season ended on Graymont Avenue.
The 2023 edition was far less dramatic than the previous edition. This time, second-ranked Ramsay raced to a 35-0 lead in the third quarter of their second-round matchup with the Green Wave, ultimately cruising to a 42-7 victory.
The win means Ramsay (10-2) now looks forward to Moody, which defeated Russellville Friday. The Blue Devils, like the Green Wave, will travel to Legion Field.
“I think we came out and played Ramsay football,” Ramsay head coach Ronnie Jackson said. “
“Overall, I love the way our guys came out and played and fought.”
Jackson’s squad dominated Leeds (9-3) in every phase Friday. Tailbacks Ashton Ashford and Jaden Marshall combined for 188 yards rushing, and scored four touchdowns between them. Three of those belonged to Ashford, who gave the Rams a 14-0 first quarter lead with a pair of TD runs.
“Our o-line has been getting better and better during the season,” said Jackson. “I just knew that there was gonna be a time that we stepped it up.”
Quarterback Kameron Keenan threw for a pair of TDs himself, to receivers Jmarcus Jones and Tremell Washington. Washington’s TD, a 73-yard catch and run, broke the game open in the second quarter, making the score 21-0.
“They’re (Ramsay) awfully good,” Leeds head coach Jerry Hood said after the game. “They just whipped us. That’s all you can say.”
On the other side of the ball, Leeds “couldn’t block” Ramsay for most of the game, according to Hood. Junior quarterback Conner Nelson was bottled up for most of the night, finishing with just 24 yards rushing and 25 yards through the air.
Nelson’s 8-yard fourth-quarter touchdown, one play after a botched punt reception by the Rams, broke Ramsay’s postseason scoreless streak with just over 7 minutes remaining in the game. Ramsay also snuffed out promising Leeds drives by forcing two turnovers, and ended another on downs.
“They’ve been leading us (on defense) throughout the whole season,” Jackson said. “I’m proud of the way they played, also.”
The ending was tough for the LHS senior class. According to Hood, that group finishes its high school run with a 39-9 record overall.
“There’s a lot of great memories with this group of seniors,” Hood said. “I’m proud as heck of them.”