By Dave Malenick
APEX — Leesville Road used a strong defensive effort to defeat Middle Creek 13-3 on Friday night and remain unbeaten.
The Pride improved to 5-0 despite committing three turnovers. The Mustangs (1-3) also turned the ball over twice.
“We had way too many turnovers tonight,” said Leesville coach David Greene, whose Pride begin Cap Seven 4-A conference play next week. “Our kids did play hard and physical all night, and our defense really executed the game plan.”
Zach Gentry led the Pride with 96 yards rushing.
Middle Creek opened the scoring with a 22-yard field goal by Matt Frongello midway through the opening quarter.
Leesville Road used a 14-play, 72-yard drive early in the second quarter to go ahead 7-3.
Gentry and Dylan Edwards accounted for most of the yardage on the drive, but Pride quarterback Jake Groeschen tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Thurston Cox-Keyes.
The Mustangs had their opportunities to go back ahead throughout the remainder of the game, but the stingy Pride defense kept the talented Middle Creek wide receivers from breaking any big gains in the passing game.
“We knew they were going to throw a lot with those bookend receivers,” Greene said about Marvin Mackey and Tre Nesbit.
Mackey did gain 96 receiving yards, but Leesville Road safety Ryan Mangum intercepted two passes to squash Mustangs scoring chances.
The Pride ended the game with a 62-yard drive, all on the ground. Edwards scored on a tough 9-yard run where he broke three tackles en route to the end zone.
“These guys had to play under adversity, and this will help them down the road,” Greene said. “Every game will be a dogfight.”
Rushes-Yards 51-222 22-107
Comp-Att-Yards 6-15-64 15-34-188
LVL 0 7 0 6 — 13
MID 3 0 0 0 — 3
MID—M.Frongello 22 FG; LVL—T.Cox 3 pass from J.Groeschen (T.Bucklin kick); LVL—D.Edwards 9 run (kick failed)
Rushing: LVL—D.Edwards 7-25, Z.Gentry 30-144, J.Groeschen 13-47, R.Mangum 1-6; MID—G.Leatham 2-4, T.Nesbit 3-19, S.Sladek 17-84.
Passing: LVL—J.Groeschen 6-15-64-1; MID—G.Leatham 15-34-188-2.
Receiving: LVL—T.Cox 3-19, K.Gonzalez 1-8, C.Kobeda 1-14, C.Todd 1-23; MID—D.Gaines 1-8, M.Mackey 8-100, T.Nesbit 5-66, S.Sladek 1-14.