Following his outsanding 2009 season, Millbrook junior Justus Hoffmann was named the Cap-7 Conference's Defensive Player of the Year.
WF-R's Trea Jones receives
Player of the Year award
Two days after the Heisman trophy was awarded to the best running back on the best college team — Alabama's Mark Ingram — the Cap-7 Conference released it's awards Monday morning, including the league's Player of the Year honors.
And like the Heisman, the Cap-7 coaches also voted to award the best running back on the best team with the league's highest accolade.
After leading the Wake Forest-Rolesville football team to an undefeated regular-season, and its second straight 4-AA Eastern Regional appearance, Trea Jones was named the league's Player of the Year.
Leesville Road junior Ryan Mangum (9), who received an invitation to the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Texas, will compete against some of the most talented football players in the country at the three-day event held in January.
Mangum invited to participate in U.S. Army National Combine
Leesville Road junior travels to
San Antonio for football showcase
Throughout the season, Leesville Road head football coach David Green often drops recruitment items — mostly letters, brochures and pamphlets — from interested colleges in front of the players' lockers.
Junior Ryan Mangum has received his share, including notes from Alabama and Notre Dame, but earlier this season a package appeared which the Pride defensive back/running back didn't recognize.
"It's usually letters in front of our lockers, but this was a big packet and I wasn't sure what it was," Mangum recalled.
Upon opening his mail, Mangum found out it wasn't another recruitment article, but rather the U.S. Army National Combine, offering an invitation to one of the most prominent and visible recruiting showcases in the nation.
The three-day event, held at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, from Jan. 7-9, features 500 of the best underclassmen football prospects in the country.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Senior Brad Moody (5) and the Leesville Road football team fell 36-8 in its 4-AA state playoff match-up with Fayetteville Jack Britt Friday. The Bucs' Eric Johnson (25) rushed for more than 175 yards in the victory.
Jack Britt proves
too much for Pride
It's hard to tell what missteps dug the Leesville Road football team a bigger hole in Friday's 36-8 defeat at Fayetteville Jack Britt — the Pride's numerous miscues or the squad's early offensive woes.
Either one alone might have made it difficult to knock off the Buccaneers, the Eastern Region's No.3 seed, but both proved to be deadly in the 4-AA playoff match-up.
And the Pride struggled its worst out of the gate, failing to gain positive yardage on any of its first four possessions. The stagnant attack allowed Jack Britt to build a 19-0 lead before Leesville earned its first first down.
"We made too many mistakes — early on particularly," said Leesville coach David Green. "But they are a very good football team, and they are not where they are by accident."
Ryan Mangum (from left), Nate Whittington and Thurston Cox are three players to keep an eye on Friday if Leesville Road wants to knock off Fayetteville Jack Britt and advance to the third round of the 4-AA state playoffs.
Pride preps for Jack Britt
A November trip to Cumberland County has become so routine for the Leesville Road football team, three-year varsity player Carson Moss doesn't know what it's like without one.
"We have done it three years in a row now. Every year I have been on varsity we have gone down to Fayetteville," explained the senior lineman prior to Wednesday's practice. "But it's always fun to travel, and I'm actually looking forward to going down there."
While the 9-3 Pride faces the daunting task of taking down 11-1 Fayetteville Jack Britt Friday, Moss and Company aren't intimidated by traveling down to the East Regionals' No. 3 seed — which plays its home games in the aptly-named "the Boneyard."
Why the reason for optimism?
First, Moss explained, it's refreshing just to see a new face across the line of scrimmage.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Leesville Road senior Thurston Cox (left) congratulates QB Austin Berrios during the Pride's 20-13 victory over Broughton Friday night. Berrios amassed more than 200 yards of offense in the postseason game. With the win, Leesville advances to play at Fayetteville Jack Britt Friday.
Caps in 'thriller'
Typically, when a defensive player makes a successful stop on fourth down, the opponents' drive is over. But that wasn't the case for Leesville Road's Gordon Martin Friday night.
Late in the fourth quarter of Friday's 4-AA state playoff showdown at Broughton, Martin was in coverage when Capitals' quarterback Jeff Moore’s pass appeared to hit the ground two yards before bouncing into the hands of his receiver.
However, the officials ruled it a legal catch giving Broughton a first down and hope, trailing 20-13 with 1:39 remaining in the game..
How does the defensive back respond? Martin steps in front of Moore’s next pass seemingly ending the game again. But a pass interference call again gave the Capitals new life.
Undeterred, Martin wouldn’t be denied on the next play hauling in a game-sealing interception and guaranteeing his Pride a 20-13 victory.
Broughton, Leesville Road's first-round playoff opponent, should expect a good dose of Pride running backs Dylan Edwards (42) and Nate Whittington (1) Friday night.
Pride battles conference foe Broughton
When this qualifies as a positive you begin to understand the rash of injuries the Leesville football team has battled this year.
As Pride head coach David Green listed off the handful of notable players expected out for Friday's 4-AA playoff opener at Broughton, the coach added "Well, the good news is Josh Stanley is off crutches this week."
Yes, having Leesville's first-string quarterback back on the mend is encouraging.
But as Green pointed out, the Pride must string together a few more wins before Stanley's back behind center.
Not an easy task, but Leesville has grown accustom to replacing starters this fall and have shown plenty of resiliency during its 8-3 regular season.
Leesville Road's Cody Pyper (25) drags down WF-R's Darren Kirby, who raced 74 yards on the second half's opening kickoff Friday night. The return triggered the Cougars' 20-3 victory.
Cougars overcome deficit, thwart
Pride's upset bid
Darren Kirby's 74-yard kickoff return to start the second half Friday was exactly what the Leesville Road football team couldn't allow Wake Forest-Rolesville to do, explained Pride coach David Green.
The play flipped the field and, more importantly, ignited a previously dormant Cougar offense, which was held scoreless in the first half.
Four plays after Kirby's return, teammate Trea Jones barreled into the end zone from 10 yards out, propelling the Cougars to 20 unanswered points and a 20-3 victory.
Nearing the end
Six seniors share their thoughts on Friday night's finales
This is it. It all comes down to this.
Four years of up-and-downs, field-long gassers and film study have lead up to now.
Afternoons lifting weights, summer workouts and all the practices between games, too.
And Every moment Friday will be a memory replayed for years to come.
So there's little surprise the seniors of the Leesville Road, Millbrook and Sanderson football teams will be a tad emotional when they take the field Friday night — their last assured home game of their careers.
Millbrook sophomore Keith Marshall tallied 162 of his 203 rushing yards in the first half of Friday's 39-23 win over Leesville Road. Marshall and the Wildcats visit undefeated WF-R Friday, Oct. 30.
Millbrook, miscues thwart Pride attack
Wildcats clinch win with four consecutive takeaways Friday
For a Millbrook football team plagued by costly turnovers seemingly all season, Friday's 39-23 victory over visiting Cap-7 Conference rival Leesville Road had a certain level of vindication to it.
The Wildcats forced the Pride into seven turnovers — including takeaways on Leesville's last four possessions — scoring a much-needed victory in Millbrook's postseason pursuit. (More importantly, Millbrook turned the ball over just once in their impressive victory.)
Following the win, head coach Clarence Inscore highlighted the parallels between how the Wildcats lost games earlier this season, and how they won Friday.
"What's been killing us all year, helped us tonight," he reasoned of turnovers. "We were finally on the right end of the turnover ratio. Again, that is huge for us. We are a good football team when we don't turn the ball over."
If the skill-position players shine in Friday night's Millbrook/Leesville Road football game, the boys upfront will undoubtedly be playing well. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Millbrook.
Pride, Wildcats square off Friday
In rivalry games, like Friday night's Leesville Road at Millbrook football match-up, records and previous performances can usually be thrown out.
(After scoring just 12 points against Broughton Oct. 9, did anyone see Wake Forest-Rolesville hanging 47 points on crosstown foe Wakefield. Me, neither.)
So, anything can happen when rivalries — i.e. emotions — are involved. And Friday will be no different.
For that reason, let's focus on these four facts leading into the contest.
Young Wildcats battle Pride
The Millbrook and Leesville Road junior varisty football teams battled Thursday, Oct. 22. For photos of the jayvee action, click above.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
With starting quarterback Josh Stanley out, Leesville Road turned to its running game and senior Dylan Edwards (42) to get the job done in Friday's 59-14 win over Sanderson Friday.
Mired in a quarterback conundrum thanks to a rash of injuries, the Leesville Road team didn’t need to find a golden arm to lead the Pride past Sanderson Friday night.
They just needed to find someone to hand the ball off.
The Pride rushed for 377 yards while passing just three times — two of which went for touchdowns — in a 59-14 throttling of the Spartans (1-7) to punctuate homecoming. Leesville Road (8-1) entered the contest averaging nearly 14 pass attempts per game.
“We thought we could run it and that’s what we wanted to do anyway to take the pressure off the quarterbacks,” said Leesville Road coach David Green.
Sam Bauckham (left) and the Spartans face Grayson Hawkins and the Pride Friday at 7 p.m. Both teams are coming off difficult losses last week, and look to rebound with a win.
Pride, Spartans stage showdown Friday
Green, Lewis talk about
While the Leesville Road (7-1) and Sanderson (1-6) football teams might be on opposite sides of the win-loss column, both squads find themselves in the same position entering Friday night's match-up: battling to get back on track.
After a thrilling, though disappointing, 35-32 loss to Wakefield last week, in hindsight the Pride suffered more than a discouraging defeat.
According to Leesville Road coach David Green, starting quarterback Josh Stanley was injured against the Wolverines and will not be behind center against the Spartans Friday.
And with back-up Austin Berrios also sidelined with an injury — suffered during a beautiful 51-yard touchdown catch against Wakefield — the Pride's QB position is an area of uncertainty right now.
Junior wide receiver Nigel King (with ball) scored three touchdowns in the Wolverines' 35-32 win over Leesville Road Friday night. The victory gives Wakefield a 3-0 record in conference play.
battle past Pride
In the closing seconds of the Wakefield football team's 35-32 upset win over Leesville Road Friday night, the Pride's desperation heave fittingly fell in the hands of Wolverine standout Nigel King.
On a night when the junior receiver hauled in nine catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns, including a 38-yard TD in the third quarter — which resulted in the Wakefield student section serenading him with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" — King came up largest in the game's biggest moments. (And, yes, it was his birthday.)
"That's why we're glad we have him," said Wakefield coach J.D. Dinwiddie following the game. "If we need a big play, we have other guys who are capable. But when we need a momentum changer, Nigel's the guy who can get it done. And he did it tonight."
But it was more than a one-man show which held off a relentless Pride squad, led by a hobbled, yet gutsy QB Josh Stanley.
Trip Foreman (left) and Brandon Pittman have displayed a knack for making big plays this season, and both could play major roles in the outcome of Friday's contest between the Pride and Wolverines.
Wolverines, Pride duke it out Friday
Keep reading for an interesting
subplot to tonight's game
In the biggest Cap-7 Conference football game to date — Friday's Leesville Road (7-0) at Wakefield (5-2) match-up — Pride linebacker Brandon Pittman knows his defensive unit can't afford any breakdowns.
No miscues. No mental lapses. And no missteps, the junior explained.
"We know they have a ton of skill people, so we are really going to have to be disciplined," he said after practice Wednesday afternoon. "We can't have one person slip. We can't have someone out of position. Or that will bring our defense down."
Leesville receiver Gerroid Doughty — who may split time at defensive back — singled out the Wakefield's wideouts as an area of concern.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Carson Moss (75) and the Leesville Road defense allowed QB Will Turner and Broughton to reach the end zone just once Friday night, en route to a 31-6 Pride victory.
Pride gets revenge on Capitals
Given the bitter memories of last year’s loss to rival Broughton, the Leesville Road football team had no shortage of motivation for Friday’s rematch.
Oddly enough, however, the Pride player who packed the biggest punch had no memory of last year’s game.
Gerroid Doughty, a transfer student from Wakefield — playing just his third game in a Leesville Road uniform — reeled in touchdown passes of 27 and 69 yards as the Pride put away the Capitals 31-6. With the victory, Leesville improves to 7-0 on the season.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Leesville Road's Carson Moss (75), Doug Theret (65), Dylan Edwards (42) and Josh Stanley (10) have been critical in helping the Pride average more than 37 points per game this season. The foursome look to continue its offensive dominance against Broughton Friday.
Leesville Road seeks redemption for '08 loss to Caps
People always talk about the one that got away.
Whether it be a girl, a fish or a financial windfall, when an opportunity is squandered, it is often remembered.
For the Leesville football team, the "one" in question is last year's humbling 35-14 loss to Broughton.
The Pride entered the 2008 game unbeaten eyeing an outright Cap-7 Conference title. On the heels of a 34-0 rout of Enloe to open the league schedule, Leesville looked to be the class of the conference.
Yet the Capitals throttled the Pride, slamming the door with a 21-point fourth quarter.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Leesville Road QB Josh Stanley fights through a tackle as
an Enloe defender pulls on his jersey during Friday's Cap-7 Conference opener. The Pride recorded a 34-7 win over
Edwards, Pride upend Enloe
When the head coach is hoarse by the end of his pre-game pep talk, it must be the start of conference play. And Leesville Road head coach David Green fired up his troops with a speech that increased in volume and passion with each sentence.
“I’m sick and tired of hearing about what Wake Forest puts on their wall," shouted Green, referring to Wake Forest-Rolesville’s recent conference championship banners. "It’s ours this year. We aren’t sharing."
Feeding off its coach’s energy, the Pride jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead at Enloe, and cruised to 34-7 victory.
PHOTO BY ROB ORAZI
Thurston Cox (pictured) and the Leesville Road football team kicks off their Cap-7 Conference schedule at Enloe Friday night. Having already recorded six INTs this season, Cox has been one of the Pride's leaders on defense in 2009.
Pride prepares for Enloe rushing attack
There's at least one definite heading into Leesville Road's Cap-7 Conference opener at Enloe Friday night: the Eagles will run the ball.
With five running backs already over the 150-yard mark this season, including David Highsmith, who's amassed nearly 700 yards, the Enloe football team uses a wishbone-option offense to punish opponents on ground.
(What is the wishbone option? It is a run-heavy formation with a quarterback, fullback and two running backs, aligned in the shape of a "wishbone.")
Pride head coach David Green admitted that describing what the Eagles run can be difficult, but their main objective is relatively simple.
Six football games
not to miss
In no order of importance, here are the six conference games I believe each football fan should mark on his or her calendar. And there's good news, all six are slated for a different Friday night, so you won't have to miss any of them.
(In retrospect, I could have listed them chronologically, but where's the fun in that.)
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WORSTELL
Lined up opposite the center, Jeremy Amey-Herbert (53) prepares for the snap of the ball during Leesville Road's
48-0 win Friday night at Southern Lee.
Pride with passion
Long before Jeremy Amey-Herbert was a Leesville Road football player, becoming one was all he could talk about.
At least that's what Pride assistant coach Joe Kilby remembers of the undersized senior defensive lineman.
"I had him in weight lifting [class], fall semester of 2008, and Jeremy would ask me every single day, 'When does football start?'" Kilby recalled with a laugh during a recent practice.
After the semester ended, Amey-Herbert's schedule changed, but he had the same inquiry every time he ran into Kilby.
"It didn't matter where I saw him on campus, that was the first thing he said to me," the coach added.
Pride dole out punishment
The Leesville football team recorded its second straight shutout Sept. 18, defeating Southern Lee 48-0. For photos of the action, click on the photograph above.
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WORSTELL
With a 48-0 rout of Southern Lee Friday, QB Josh Stanley and the Pride improved to 5-0.
Leesville stomps Southern Lee
Given the tenacity that the Leesville Road football team exhibited to block a field goal in the final minute of Friday’s contest, you might’ve thought the game was actually riding on it.
At 48-0 it surely wasn’t. But the pride of the Pride was.
Southern Lee became the latest victim of Leesville Road’s stellar defense in a blowout that read 41-0 by halftime. For the Pride, who have allowed just six points in the last four games, protecting the zero on the scoreboard quickly became priority No. 1.
PHOTO BY HEATHER KOPETSKIE
Senior Nate Whittington (1) and the Leesville Road rushing attack helped propel the Pride to a 28-0 shutout of East Wake Friday night. Leesville Road travels to Southern Lee Sept. 18.
Pride hits its stride against Warriors
The football team which makes the most big plays usually wins the game. The same can be said for the team which wins the turnover battle. Leesville Road did both Friday night, capitalizing on one big play after another, defeating East Wake 28-0 and improving to 4-0 this season.
The Pride showcased its team speed, a dominant running attack and a deep stable of playmakers against the Warriors.
The term “playmaker” is often used to refer to players at the skill positions, but the Pride have them all over the field — and they all made big plays Friday.
FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
East Wake Friday
While most squads might be weary of facing Leesville Road's high-powered offensive attack — the reaction is warranted — East Wake probably isn't one of them.
At least Pride head coach David Green knows the Warriors won't be.
Having already locked horns with Jack Britt, Wake Forest-Rolesville and Millbrook this season, 1-2 East Wake has battled a gauntlet of talented teams — the Pride won't be any different than what they're used to.
Pride pulverizes Apex 37-6
There were so many accolades to hand out after Leesville Road’s 37-6 rout of Apex Friday night it took Pride head coach David Green nearly 30 minutes to address his team following the game.
In addition to the Pride offense producing 477 total yards and four touchdowns, the defense came up with a pair of interceptions and the special teams converted three field goals and blocked two Cougar kicks.
Heck, even offensive lineman Alec Triggiano got in on the act, recovering a late fumble in the end zone for Leesville Road’s final touchdown.
“It was a real nice night,” Green said.
Pride pop Cougars 37-6
The Leesville Road football team improved to 3-0 with its win over Apex Friday, Sept. 4. For photos of the action, click on the picture above.
Young Pride faces Apex
The Leesville Road junior varsity football team squared off with Apex Thursday, Sept. 3. For photos of the action, click on the picture above.
All week long Leesville Road head football coach David Green talked to his team about setting the tone early in Friday night’s showdown at Green Hope.
After having to rally back from a two-touchdown deficit in last week’s come-from-behind victory against Panther Creek, getting off on the right foot was one of the coach’s main objectives.
Junior Brandon Pittman must have been listening, as well as the rest of the Pride football team, which notched a decisive 44-0 victory over the Falcons.
Having racked up more than 250 yards passing last week, Leesville Road Josh Stanley showed plenty of big-play potential. Stanley and the Pride visit Green Hope Friday.
Pride football hopes to ground Falcons
While breaking down the film of Green Hope in preparation of Friday night's match-up, Leesville Road head football coach David Green mentioned two items stood out to him.
First, the Falcons have a new look on offense this fall.
And secondly, Green Hope's offense didn't resemble anything like the Pride faced opening night against Panther Creek.
Leesville Road senior Dylan Edwards (42) recorded two touchdowns, including the game winner, in Friday night's 35-28 victory over Panther Creek.
Pride 'survive' season opener
In the most crucial drive of Friday night's season opener — the one which gave Leesville Road a 35-28 come-from-behind win over Panther Creek — Pride running back Dylan Edwards admitted a funny fact about his 1-yard, game-winning touchdown run.
It probably should have been teammate Ryan Mangum clinching the victory.
"Well, that's not actually my play," Edwards laughed, when the play's name eluded him after the game. "But Ryan was out — hurt. It's a short-yards play, and that's my kind of running. I can't juke. I'm not speedy. But I just try to hit you as hard as I can. So I just tried to hit the hole as hard as I could."
Edwards 1-yard plunge capped the Pride's efficient late-game possession, led ironically by another Leesville Road stand-in, Austin Berrios.
The Leesville Roadfootball team pulled off a come-from-behind victory over Panther Creek on opening night. To see more of the action, click on the photograph above.
Leesville Road head coach David Green (right) said Panther Creek's skill-position players might be the best unit his team faces this season. The Pride and Catamounts kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.
for bright lights
With a pre-game radio broadcast scheduled before the game and a handful of other media expected on hand, plenty of eyes will be on Leesville Roads season opener Friday night against Panther Creek.
The Pride, pegged by many to continue their recent run of success, and the Catamounts, a popular preseason pick to be a team on the rise, have garnered a lot of attention this off-season.
And the winner of Friday night's game will undoubtedly receive plenty of credibility in the Triangle.
Leesville Road head coach David Green gives instructions
to LB Brandon Pittman during Wednesday morning's scrimmage at West Johnston.
Pride works on depth
Following Wednesday morning's scrimmage at West Johnston, Leesville Road senior lineman Kirk Lincoln explained it was nice to see someone different across the line of scrimmage.
"In practice, we are just hitting each other — it's intense, but not this intense," he said. "I was glad just to get out here and hit another team. Hit someone with a different color jersey."
While the exhibition lasted more than two hours, Lincoln and the other Pride starters played more of an observer/coach role than taking actual snaps during the practice.
Leesville Road visited West Johnston Wednesday, Aug. 12, for a scrimmage. To see more of the action click on the photograph above.
at West Johnston
Couldn't get out of work to see Leesville Road football team's first scrimmage? We have you covered. Here are three minutes of highlights from Aug. 12.
One of only four returners on defense, Leesville Road linebacker Brad Moody will be counted on not only to make tackles, but provide leadership for the Pride this fall.
Pride looks to continue recent success
Sitting in the Leesville Road coaches' office Tuesday morning — with formations diagrammed on the dry-ease board behind him — head football coach David Green took a moment to contemplate a question.
Moments earlier, the fifth-year coach was asked how he felt about the predictions that the Pride might be the favorite in the always competitive Cap-7 Conference.
Eventually he shrugged, saying, "Yeah, that's fine with me."
"It's better than it used to be," pointed out assistant coach Chad Smothers working nearby.
"Yeah, it is better than it used to be," Green continued. "Back then, we used to play about eight homecomings a year."
Leesville Road's Mangum discusses upcoming season
With seven interceptions last season, safety Ryan Mangum knows a thing or two about predicting what's coming next.
Click here to see what Mangum had to say.