TURNER — As the team broke from its postgame huddle, Leavitt coach Michael Hathaway yelled out something to his players that he had forgotten to mention.
“Keep your stuff, we’re playing again next week!” a smiling Hathaway yelled.
That they are as the top ranked Leavitt Hornets advanced to the Eastern B semifinals with a 52-8 thumping of Morse on Friday night in a quarterfinal matchup.
The Hornet defense held Morse to 56 yards of offense, forcing three turnovers. The swarming defense also sacked Shipbuilders quarterback Kevin McKellar six times.
“We wanted to work on some things on defense, and with the type of offense Morse runs, we were able to get some things accomplished,” said Hathaway.
After Morse (2-6) punted on its first possession, Leavitt’s offense got right to work. Following it’s third first down of the series, junior tailback Jake Ouellette dove over the line for his first of three scores, putting the Hornets on the board just four-and-a-half minutes into the game. After a mishandled kick off, Morse started it’s next drive from it’s own 2-yard line. On third down, Morse’s Garrett Madden was stuffed in the end zone, where he coughed up the ball. It was recovered by Ian Durgin for the game’s second score just a minute later.
After another Morse punt, Leavitt started with yet again excellent field position on Morse’s 49-yard line. On third and 11, Leavitt quarterback Jordan Hersom connected with Lucas Witham for his first of four receptions for a 36-yard gain. The pass play set up a pair of runs, including Hersom taking it in for the score from 9 yards out.
Ouellette opened the second quarter with his second touchdown with a 34-yard run, dodging several tacklers to increase the Hornets’ lead to 28-0. Ouellette finished with 104 yards on the ground to go with his three scores.
Morse moved the chains for a first down for the first time with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half. Two plays later, Dylan Moore forced a Morse fumble, and it was recovered by Jesse Pelletier at midfield. Pelletier, who was outstanding on defense for the unbeaten Hornets (9-0), made six tackles and sacked McKellar twice.
Hersom connected with Witham for their last score of the half on a 24-yard strike. Witham caught four passes for 95 yards with runs that excited the crowd. Despite committing four penalties late, the Hornets went into the halftime break with a 34-0 lead.
“Our kids know what they need to do,” said Hathaway. “They knew to come out clean in the second half and put those penalties behind them.”
The Hornets came out and drove down the field in convincing fashion, running the option with Oullette swiftly carrying them forward with his final score of the evening. Jason Fisher added a 12-yard touchdown, while Devin Long rushed for 56 second-half yards and a touchdown for the Hornets.
Morse’s lone score came from halfback D’Vaughn Myers on a 9-yard run in the fourth quarter.