Wampus Cats rally to top DeRidder

Published 11:49 am Monday, October 18, 2021

Leesville senior Mason Fitzgerald (54) protects his quarterback Parker Maks (15) on a throw in the first half as the Wampus Cats rallied for a 49-41 win over the DeRidder Dragons.

DeRidder running back Alex Archield (2) scored two touchdowns Friday night in a 49-41 loss to the Leesville Wampus Cats in the Battle for the Hooper Trophy.

LEESVILLE – The 100th all-time meeting between Leesville and DeRidder was quite the shootout.

A game full of offensive fireworks and penalties, Leesville reclaimed the storied Hooper Trophy behind six touchdowns from Caleb Gallashaw, taking a 49-41 victory over DeRidder at Wampus Cat Stadium.

Leesville (5-2, 2-0) now owns a 4-2 lead in the Hooper Trophy Series VII and has won four of its last five meetings against DeRidder (4-3, 0-1).

This was the second-highest scoring game in Hooper Trophy and all-time series history. The combined 90 points fell short of the 2008 game which featured 97 points in a 68-29 Leesville win.

But the game got off to a rocky start for Leesville as DeRidder standout Ronnie Crosby returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. The Dragons executed a perfect sky kick and took over at the Leesville 34. Nine plays later, Alex Archield powered into the endzone for a 14-0 DeRidder advantage.

Gallashaw scored the first of his six touchdowns on a 44-yard run, only to see Crosby, his DeRidder counterpart, score on a 16-yard TD pass from Ethan Maples.

Still in the opening period, Gallashaw culminated a 6-play, 88-yard drive with a 22-yard score, cutting the gap to 21-14.

Just over midway into the second period, Crosby rambled 30 yards for a TD and a 28-14 DeRidder edge. Leesville fought back and got a 13-yard TD run from Parker Maks to get to within a touchdown, 28-21.

DeRidder found itself facing a third-and-20 deep in its own territory, but Maples found Crosby on the wheel route for a 74-yard TD. However, Jose Mijares missed the PAT, leaving DeRidder with a 34-21 lead.

Leesville managed to put a score on the board as Gallashaw scored on a 27-yard TD run. Caden Catron connected on the PAT to trim the Leesville deficit to six at the half, 34-28.

The Wampus Cats had an inauspicious opening to the second half as they fumbles the ball away deep in DeRidder territory. The Dragons responded by marching 84 yards in five plays, one of which was a 62-yard pass to Aaron Dupas. Archield scored on the next play from three yards out to give DeRidder a 41-28 cushion.

It was all Leesville after that as Gallashaw scored on a 76-yard TD pass from Maks, a 32-yard TD run and a 68-yard TD reception as the Wampus Cats took a 49-41 lead into the fourth.

The Wampus Cat defense did the rest, forcing two turnovers in the fourth period as Leesville held on for the win.

Gallashaw accounted for 271 yards rushing and 152 yards receiving on 29 touches with six touchdowns. Maks passed for 170 yards and two scores, while rushing for another.

Crosby had 19 touches for 165 yards and three touchdowns offensively, while also recording the kickoff return for a score. Archield ran for two touchdowns, while Darian Castille rushed for 104 yards. Maples threw for two touchdowns and 172 yards.

DeRidder returns home next week to face Bolton, while Leesville will host Peabody.

This article originally appeared on Leesville Daily Leader: Wampus Cats rally to top DeRidder