AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - The Leeds Green Wave defeated the Deshler Tigers of Tuscumbia 30-0 in the Class 4A state championship game on Friday.
Both teams came into the game with added purpose: Deshler was looking for a championship to honor their head coach, Jake Linville, who passed away earlier this season; Leeds was looking for redemption after their championship loss last year.
The two teams faced each other in the 2001 championship game, when Leeds defeated Deshler 42-7. It would be another bad day for the Tigers.
The first big play of the game was by the Green Wave defense. Leeds linebacker Adam Brown hit a Deshler receiver, causing a fumble that the Green Wave recovered.
Leeds capitalized on the big play with a 33-yard TD pass from quarterback TaDarryl Marshall to Jermaine Johnson, who pushed past two Deshler defenders to score.
Leeds finished off the first quarter up 7-0.
The Green Wave started off the second quarter with a couple of field goals from Morgan Coston: one from 31 yards and one from 34 yards.
Leeds QB Marshall set up the field goals with great scrambling.
Then, Deshler QB Sam Howard threw a pick-six to Leeds linebacker Demontrez Clark, who ran 65 yards to the end zone. Leeds went into halftime with a 20-0 lead.
The third quarter was scoreless for both teams. The fourth quarter saw Leeds put up another field goal and a TD to end the game with a 30-0 blowout.
"Their focus was getting back here and finishing," said Leeds head football coach Keith Etheridge.
"I just can't say how happy I am for these guys. That's where I get my joy. Seeing these guys happy," he added.
When asked what message he would share with his players in the locker room after the game, Coach Etheridge gave a teary-eyed answer:
"Just that I love them. That I'm going to miss this senior group."