The story was on the other side of the ball however as the Green Wave held Deshler to just 77 total yards and added a defensive touchdown as well with Demontrez Clark returning an interception 65 yards for a score. One year removed from a loss to Madison Academy in the finals, Coach Keith Etheridge said this team was determined to finish things this season and it started with defense.
“Our defense played lights-out all year,” Etheridge said. “We’ve had some great defensive fronts and linebacker groups, but I truly think this is one of the best we’ve had. For us to bump up in class and have four shutouts during the playoffs is unheard of. Last year at the end of the year we came up a little bit short and from Dec. 5 last year they were in the weight room working, play-scripting in the film room, their attention to detail is what helped us win the state championship.”
In a game filled with mistakes from Deshler it was a fumble by the Tigers that set up the first score for Leeds in the first quarter. Taking over at the 33-yard line Marshall hit wide receiver Jermaine Johnson over the middle for a touchdown. Determined to get into the end zone Johnson drug tacklers the last five yards to put Leeds on the board.
“It felt great,” Marshall said of the touchdown pass. “I got them to open up a little bit, open up the run game with the pass. After that we just kept passing and the run game opened up a little bit.”
Jermaine Johnson scores for Leeds
With the defense shutting down Deshler, the Leeds offense kept things close to the vest and it paid off to the tune of a pair of second quarter field goals to increase the lead to 13-0. That was the score late in the half when the Tigers took over on their own 23-yard line. Quarterback Sam Howard started to get heated up throwing the football with a pair of completions to move the football to the leads 42, but that’s when Clark made perhaps the play of the game.
Playing the slant, Clark dropped into coverage and snagged the errant pass on his 35-yard line. Using his speed he coasted easily into the end zone for the 20-0 Leeds advantage with just 1:21 left in the first half. That was the dagger in the game as Deshler never threatened again.
Morgan Coston added his third field goal of the game to increase the advantage for Leeds and when Tre Nation rambled in from four yards to cap a 12-play, 77-yard drive it made the final score 30-0 as the Green Wave won its third title under Etheridge since 2008.
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