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Leesville Daily Leader - Leesville, LA
  • Wampus Cats pull away for victory over LaGrange

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  • The person who shoots the traditional cannon blast every time Leesville scores a touchdown in Wampus Cat Stadium is getting a workout.
    For the second straight home game, the No. 5 Wampus Cats put up more than 50 points and entertained the home crowd with dazzling offensive fireworks.
    A week after disposing of Natchitoches-Central, 62-0, the Cats pounded on LaGrange of Lake Charles, 54-24.
    Leesville improves its season record to 3-1, its best start since the 2004 season during which LHS went 9-1 in the regular season.
    It's also Leesville's third consecutive victory after beginning the season with a loss on the road at West Monroe.
    It wasn't always easy, however.
    Leesville led only 13-12 at the end of the first quarter before building that lead to 34-18 by halftime.
    "You have to hand it to LaGrange," Leesville head coach Terence Williams said. "They came out with a plan and really took it to us in the first half. Coach [Jules] Sullen had them playing physical all night long."
    While the Wampus Cats were piling up early points and registering 248 yards in the first half, LaGrange wasn't far behind with 191 yards before intermission, mostly on the legs of sophomore running back Darius Edwards.
    An unfortunate occurrence in the second half, coupled with a more aggressive Leesville defense, allowed the Cats to pull away.
    After rushing for 109 yards, Edwards went to the sideline in the third quarter with numbness in his right arm. He collapsed on the LaGrange sideline, and according to Sullen, was non-responsive for about 15 seconds before paramedics were able to get him up and to Byrd Regional Hospital to be checked out. Edwards could have suffered from a possible concussion.
    From that point on, it was all Leesville. After LaGrange scored on its first possession of the second half to cut the lead to 10 at 34-24, the Cats scored the last 20 points.
    "Defensively in the first half, we weren't playing our techniques like we should have," Williams said. "A lot of that was LaGrange hitting us in the mouth, but they were a lot bigger than us and made it difficult. We played much better in the second half."
    As has been the case this season, the Cats relied heavily on the legs of senior running back Michael Ford, who scored on runs of 2 and 6 yards in the first quarter to get the scoring going. Ford finished the night with 248 yards on 28 carries and scored four times.
    On the season, Ford has totaled 906 yards rushing with 11 TDs in four games. However, it was another skill player who took over in the second quarter after LaGrange cut the lead to 27-18.
    Sophomore Levander Liggins grabbed a Travante Stallworth pass over the middle as time was ticking down on the first half and broke four tackles on his way to the house, carrying a LaGrange defender the last 10 yards into the endzone to up the lead to 34-18 at half.
    Page 2 of 2 - Liggins paced the receiving corps on the night with three catches for 118 yards. All three receptions went the distance. He scored from 28, 42 and 48 yards and even had a 45-yard TD run called back in the second half due to a holding call.
    Stallworth, who had three TD passes on the night, rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries and added 128 yards through the air. Leesville managed 482 yards of offense, while holding LaGrange to 265.
    In between the Ford and Liggins touchdowns in the first half, senior Devin Moran got in on the scoring action as well. He returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Ford finished out the scoring in the second half from 69 and 20 yards out, respectively.
    With all of the fireworks, it was Moran's punt return Williams singled out as the turning point of the game.
    "Devin's return was huge. That was the turning point," Williams said. "We had been working on that and blocked it well. Any time you get a score on special teams, it gives your team a boost."
    The Cats are beginning to roll offensively, having scored 116 points in its last two games.
    Leesville will hit the road next week for the much-anticipated matchup with DeRidder in the battle of the Hooper Trophy.
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