LEO-CEDARVILLE – In the final week of their non-confernce schedule, the Leo Lions made one statement loud and clear: a week one blowout win was no fluke at all. Leo scored the first 33 points on the game unanswered as they rolled by Angola on Friday night, 33-13.
It marked the first 2-0 start for Leo since 2016 and the first 0-2 start for the Hornets since 2015.
It also opens up the eyes of the area and future Leo opponents. The Lions had some positional replacing to do heading into the season, but haven’t seemed to miss much of a beat in improving to 2-0 by outscoring their opponents 69-13.
“To get out here with a win over a quality opponent is a real nice thing for our kids,” Leo coach Jared Sauder said. “I thought we played physical all night long. We played awfully physical up front, were able to control the line of scrimmage really on both sides of the ball, but really offensively get a lot of push up front to move the football.”
And move the ball they did, amassing 313 rushing yards total, many on the legs of senior Peyton Wall. A week ago, Wall was one of the area’s top yardage gainers and almost every time you looked at the field in the first half of week two, he was again churning his legs towards the end zone. Wall ran for 183 yards on 21 attempts, punching in four touchdowns including three in the first half.
Sophomore running back Mason Sheron added 83 more yards on the ground and another score.
“We knew it was going to be a close game but knew if our line did our job, we could go off. That is basically what happened, is our line hit our holes,” Wall said. “Blocking created hole for running lanes.”
The Lions struck fast, getting to the end zone less than three minutes into the game on Sheron’s score, a 13 yard run. Angola never was able to find their footing as Leo’s run game shredded the Hornet defense. Wall scored his first touchdown just two minutes later on a 45 yard run. Down 14-0, Angola’s offense started to move the chains a little, but an untimely turnover took away their only early momentum.
Leo turned that situation into gold for themselves, capping a drive with a five yard score for Wall. He also closed out the half with a touchdown with just 42 seconds left to play.
“We got a turnover down inside our territory and were able to drive it down the field. That was huge for us right there, that series and being able to move the ball down the field was big,” Sauder said.
Going into the second half, after landing awkwardly on his shoulder, the Leo offense backed off an emphasis on Wall, but that didn’t stop him from adding his fourth touchdown of the night. With 2:56 left in the third quarter, Wall sliced to the sideline after pushing through the middle of the line and ran away with a 39 yard score.
“I see a small hole and I take it, take the gap and go. I saw one glimpse of where 15 took a step too far and took it and took it all the way to the end zone,” Wall said. “It boosts my confidence and it humbles me to play under such an advanced line. Our line does so well.”
The Hornets would break the shutout early in the fourth when Antonio Luevanos took a handoff and swept right for a 13 yard touchdown. Lincoln Schreiber would add a second Hornet touchdown with 1:23 remaining but the massive damage had already been done.
While Leo threw the ball just four times on Friday night, Jackson Barbour did complete all of his passes for 44 yards including a 22 yard pass to Peyton McHale. Gavin James led the Leo defense with 10 tackles.
The win allows Leo to enter Northeast 8 Conference play at 2-0, one of five teams in the conference to start out unbeaten through two weeks.
“Any time you beat a program like Angola, it gives you a little bit of confidence, but our kids know it is one game and we have to get back to work next week,” Sauder said. “There are still a lot of good teams in the NE8, I don’t know if we are the focus. We’ve got a really competitive football conference and we are going to have to be ready every single week to play.”
Next up on the docket is Norwell. Leo will travel next Friday to help christen the new turf at the school. Norwell is 2-0 for the first time since 2009 and have outscored their first two opponents 96-7.
“Its another 0-0 week for us. Norwell is going to be a tough opponent,” Wall said.