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Leeds wins Class 3A title, 38-21 over Cordova

BIRMINGHAM – Rush Perkins ran for three touchdowns and threw for another Thursday as the Green Wave — a doormat just a few years ago — defeated Cordova 38-21 for its first Class 3A state football championship.

Perkins, a junior, scored on carries of 23, 21 and 11 yards in the first of six Alabama High School Athletic Association title games played over three days at Legion Field. He also had an 11-yard scoring pass to Randon Carnathan.

Perkins pumped a fist in the air after picking up the MVP trophy at midfield, and teammates bounced up and down in anticipation of getting the state trophy. Most of the seniors were freshmen on a team that went 3-7 in 2005.

“This team has been through a lot adversity,” said coach Keith Etheridge. “I’m proud of them.”

Leeds (15-0) is in Jefferson County east of Birmingham, while Cordova (11-4) is from Walker County.

Cordova’s Ryan Smith scored two touchdowns for the Blue Devils, each on 1-yard runs. The Blue Devils’ Tim Simon led all rushers 180 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He set up one of Smith’s scores with a slashing, 35-yard run to the Leeds 1.

Cordova jumped out to an early lead on the first of Smith’s TD scores, which capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive on its first possession. But Leeds scored the next 24 straight points to put the game away.

Perkins led Leeds’ runners with 145 yards on 17 carries, and Dedrick Forsythe added 120 yards on 18 rushes, including a 43-yard TD run.

The Green Wave never punted as it piled up 377 yards rushing to 224 yards on the ground for Cordova.