ALEXANDRIA — Leeds and Alexandria seemed to be on a collision course all season.
They were undefeated coming into Friday night, beating their previous opponents by an average of 23.2 and 34.4 points, respectively.
As it turned out, the de facto Class 5A, Region 6 championship game was just another showcase game for a Valley Cubs team that dominated Leeds 43-7.
“Leeds is a good team, and I’m just telling you now we played really well on both sides tonight,” Alexandria coach Todd Ginn said. “You know, offensively, I knew they had a really good defense, and offensively we blocked well. … We’ve been playing really well on the defensive side, but tonight I felt we played really good on both sides.”
I’ll say. The Valley Cubs (9-0) scored their third touchdown after only eight offensive snaps.
Running back Antonio Ross picked up 54 yards and a score on Alexandria’s very first play. Senior Braxton Tucker recovered his first of two fumbles, two plays later, which set Ross up for an 11-yard sprint to the end zone on the Valley Cubs' third offensive play.
As it turned out, the night was just getting started for Ross. He finished the evening with 190 yards and three touchdowns on only 17 carries.
“He's something else,” Alexandria linebacker Tyler Brown said. “He is a hard worker, and he is a great leader. He wants everybody else around him to be good. He is not focused on himself so much.”
Speaking of everyone else, the Valley Cubs defense held Leeds to 200 yards of offense and didn’t give up a score until Leeds running back Rametrius Yelverton found the end zone with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
That same defense also forced four turnovers in the first half, including two interceptions hauled in by Brown, who was playing inside linebacker instead of his usual role on the outside. But the sophomore won’t take even half the credit for those plays. After all, his teammate Da’Markus Williams tipped up the first one to end Leeds’ first drive.
“I feel pretty good, but my teammates were putting me in position, my coaches were putting me in the right positions,” Brown said. “My coaches believe in me, I had to show up for them.”
What to know
—Alexandria freshman Clete Forrest converted all four of his extra-point attempts and knocked a 47 field goal through the uprights in the final minute of the first half to give his team a 29-0 lead.
—Alexandria quarterback Javais McGhee completed three of five passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times for 73 yards and an additional score.
—Ginn on the playoff implications: “To play at home first round to get that checked off and then to make a 3 (seed) have to win to make you go on the road the second round. We’ve done what we need to do. … I don’t think anybody gave us this shot to be here at the beginning of the year, except us.”
—Brown on his favorite play of the night, his 4-yard sack: “All I was thinking was my teammates must be covering them very well for him to be holding the ball this long. I couldn’t believe he held it so long, so my teammates must have been doing a good job.”
—Alexandria travels to Piedmont on Friday night. Leeds (9-1) is off until the playoffs start.