WAITSBURG — With a state playoff berth on the line, Waitsburg-Prescott running back Chance Leroue found the end zone four times as W-P rolled to a 41-14 victory against District 7 opponent Liberty High School here Friday night.
The multi-talented Leroue did a little bit of everything for W-P, as he finished with a rushing touchdown, two receiving scores and a passing touchdown. But he was not done there, as he also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season.
With W-P holding a 21-0 lead at halftime, Leroue was still around 80 yards away from the 1,000-yard mark.
But Leroue, W-P coach Jeff Bartlow and the rest of the W-P offense knew the second half would feature a heavy dose of No. 24.
“The O-line knew he had to get 123 yards to get to 1,000,” Bartlow said. “We wanted him to have it. He wanted it and (the offensive line) wanted it. We knew in the third quarter we had to put some rushing yards in, so we committed to the run.”
Leroue opened the second half with a 24-yard run before punctuating the drive with a 21-yard play-action catch down the seam for the score.
After pushing the game out reach with a four-yard touchdown reception to end the third quarter, Leroue exited the game with 167 total rushing yards and more than 1,000 on the year.
The humble ballcarrier was hyped about his gaudy season statistics, but the team’s postseason berth meant more to him.
“It feels really good,” Leroue said of breaking the 1,000-yard mark. “Last year, I came close and I really wanted it. But as long as the team does good, I don’t really care. It feels really good, but as long as our team does great.”
Bartlow said Leroue was one of, if not the most, physical player on the field with his punishing downfield blocks and hard-nosed running style.
“Once he gets through he dips his shoulder pretty good and punishes (defenders) and gets the extra yards he wants,” Bartlow said. “He can catch the ball — he’s got good skills that way, too.”
Leroue opened the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter. After receiving a handoff from quarterback Owen Lanning, Leroue made a cut, broke a tackle and went untouched down the left sideline for the score.
After a Luke Alexenko pick-six extended the W-P lead, Leroue showed off his arm with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Devin Acevedo before halftime.
W-P finished with 292 total rushing yards, as Lanning added 69 yards on the ground. He also passed for 82 yards and after a first-quarter interception, Bartlow said his signal-caller bounced back nicely.
“He shook it off and I was proud of him,” Bartlow said. “He’s a good little running quarterback. We try to put him in a position where he’s running the ball more.”
Acevedo, a 210-pound receiver, displayed his versatility, as he added a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. He finished with 35 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards.
But it was Acevedo’s downfield blocks that seemed to spring Leroue free for big gains on the ground.
“You just look for them and once you get them, you get them,” Acevedo said. “It was pretty fun. There were a couple times where you find them and get them. Just drop your feet and go full-bore and try to get them out.”
With the win, W-P enters the state playoffs as the No. 1 seed to face Adna High School next Saturday.
However, Bartlow said W-P still has areas to clean up, such as the 105 penalty yards in the game.
With a chance at the state title on the line, the team must comprehend the importance of every single play, Bartlow said.
“It’s that season when it’s do or die,” he said. “You’ve got to play hard on every play and finish every play. Every play is a competition now and every play can beat you or win a game. It’s huge that we compete on every play and every down.”
Waitsburg-Prescott 41, Liberty 14
Liberty 0 0 0 14 — 14
W-P 6 15 20 0 — 41
W-P — Leroue 13 run (Benito XP no good)
W-P — Alexenko 30 interception return (Benito XP good)
W-P — Acevedo 16 pass from Leroue (Acevedo 2-pt pass from Lanning)
W-P — Leroue 21 pass from Lanning (Benito XP good)
W-P — Acevedo 3 run (Benito XP no good)
W-P — Leroue 4 pass from Lanning (Benito XP good)
Lib — Hass 2 run (2-pt pass no good)
Lib — Haas 7 run (Fleming 2-pt pass from Burnham)
First Downs 8 18
Rushes-Yards 32-93 39-292
Passing Yards 98 113
Passes (Att-Comp-Int) 20-8-2 21-12-1
Punts 6-150 2-80
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 13-105
RUSHING — Lib: Johnson 9-29, Burnham 13-24, Sievers 3-10, Haas 7-30-2; W-P: Leroue 17-167-1, Lanning 10-69, Larsen 1-5, Acevedo 2-35-1, Carter 7-12, Dunn 2-4.
PASSING — Lib: Burnham 20-8-2, 98 yards. W-P: Lanning 17-10-1, 82 yards, 2 TDs; Leroue 1-1-0, 16 yards, 1 TD, Dunn 3-1-0, 15 yards.
RECEIVING — Lib: Fleming 2-16, Johnson 2-10, Simmons 1-9, Sievers 2-14, Kasinger 1-49. W-P: Acevedo 5-35-1, Leroue 4-40-2, Brown 1-14, Larsen 1-9, Carter 1-15.