Leesville stacked its non-district schedule to prepare for a tough district slate, and hopefully, a playoff run.
The Wampus Cats got a test from Class 5A Pineville, but they came away with 20-14 win Friday night.
"Our kids are resilient," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "We wanted to instill in them four years ago the belief that you're never out of it and always have a chance in a ball game. Friday night was a testament to that. Our kids struggled early and often, but they kept playing."
The Leesville defense, which has been hobbled by a couple of injuries, came away with two interceptions in the victory.
"We are running to the football better," Causey said. "We know where we fit, and the knowledge of the scheme has improved. When those things happen, you play faster and with more confidence. We played eight underclassmen last night. We are playing a lot of young kids on the defensive side of the ball, and we are executing. When a kid executes, he's showing me that he is coachable."
After a scoreless first quarter, quarterback Jacob Mount hit receiver Darius Sawyer for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Wampus Cats up 7-0 in the second.
Pineville tied it up in the third quarter on a short touchdown run, but Leesville reclaimed the lead early in the fourth on a 48-yard pass from Mount to Krystian Hoffpauir to go up 13-7.
Mount was 15-for-28 for 187 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"They did a great job scheming us," Causey said. "They were a fast and physical defense. They are probably the best one we've played all year. They were another team that was bigger, stronger and faster than us. You tell the kids to not worry about the opponent and just care about how you take of business.
"I told him not to hang his head (after the interceptions). Just pick yourself back up and go to work. Name me a quarterback that doesn't throw an interception. You can't be mad when yours does."
Mount extended the Wampus Cat lead with a 2-yard touchdown run after a pick from Quan Williams.
"If I gave out game balls, I would give them out to the offense and the offensive coaches," Causey said. "What they did in the fourth quarter was phenomenal.
"They continued to believe in themselves and the kids and continued to look for answers."
Pineville scored with under a minute to go, but the ensuing kick went out of bounds, and Mount took a knee to end the game.
Hoffpauir led Leesville with 96 receiving yards on five catches, and D'Ante Gallashaw ran for 100 yards on 18 carries.
Leesville moves to 4-0 on the year and takes on DeQuincy at home on Friday night.