Once the Warriors took the Hornets’ best shot in the first quarter, it became abundantly clear that Leavitt wouldn’t be burying another overmatched Western Class C foe. It took three second-half touchdowns from Nate Rousseau to put away a 34-12 victory at Libby Field.

Rousseau rushed for 112 of his game-high 121 yards after intermission for Leavitt (7-0), which will shoot for its fourth undefeated regular season in five years next week at Spruce Mountain.

“They’re a pretty physical group of kids, even though they’re not big. They’re going to block and tackle,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said of Wells. “We needed to be in a game like that. We hit some adversity along the road, and our kids responded pretty well.”

Leavitt thrashed its previous four opponents by a combined score of 237-0. Wells (5-2) snapped the Hornets’ scoreless streak of more than 19 quarters on fullback Michael Curtis’ plunge with 3:02 remaining in the second quarter.

That made it 14-6 at the half, but the Hornets scored the lone touchdown of the third quarter and cashed in Clay Rowland’s interception in the end zone for another long scoring march to start the fourth.

“The past few weeks we’ve been preparing a little bit for them. They fought hard,” Leavitt slotback and defensive back Nate Coombs said. “You’ve got to bring your best when you play a team like this. We knew it was going to be a big game, and obviously home field advantage was at stake.”

Wells edged Leavitt in the 2011 Class B state championship game, but the teams hadn’t met in September or October for more than a decade until this year’s statewide reclassification.

The Warriors waited patiently for the Hornets’ cadre of seniors to be honored prior to their final home game. The symbolism wasn’t lost on Wells coach Tim Roche, who was proud of the way his team handled the challenge.

“It’s kind of like us two years ago with all those seniors. We’re younger. We do have some veteran kids, and no excuses, that’s a good football team,” Roche said. “I knew that going in, but I’m happy with some of the things we did. We didn’t do everything right, but we did a lot of things well.”

Leavitt threatened to make it business as usual by scoring on two of its first three series.

After senior tailback Conor O’Malley took a shot to the knee early in the game and was mostly limited to defensive duty, the quartet of Coombs, Rousseau, Adam Poulin and Billy Bedard took turns tearing it up behind big Matt Powell and the Hornets’ offensive line.

Poulin scampered 23 yards and Coombs 13 more to set up Poulin’s touchdown with 6:37 remaining in the first. Bedard’s 27-yard scamper led to a 17-yard scoring sweep by Coombs with 1:39 to go. Matt Thibodeau booted both extra points.

Wells was limited to minus net yardage until midway through the second period. Then the Warriors gained momentum when a pre-planned fake punt caught them off guard but went awry. Levi Craig’s pass to Rousseau was on the money, but the receiver slipped and was down by contact just shy of the marker.

Led by two third-down completions from Nate Booth to Ryan Marsh, Wells marched 45 yards to its first score. Curtis, wearing a lineman’s number of 59, barreled up the middle on the fullback trap from six yards out.

“They got up 14-0 and I thought, ‘Uh oh, this thing could get out of hand.’ But it didn’t,” Roche said. “We went down and scored and did a good job running some stuff we don’t usually run. I think we learned some things about ourselves, and I’ll take that.”

“They run the ball hard,” said Leavitt’s Scott Sleeper, who led the Hornets’ defense along with Coombs, Rowland, Powell, O’Malley, Levi Morin and Will Parkin. “They’re just a smashmouth football team. They’ve got a couple of fast guys on the edge, so you have to respect that.”

Coombs’ sack of Booth — one of four on the night for Leavitt — held Wells to three-and-out to start the second half. After a short punt, Coombs’ 16-yard catch from Tyler Chicoine on third-and-11 got the Hornets started.

Rousseau raced 22 yards and Poulin 16 ahead of Rousseau’s first TD, a 9-yarder, for a 20-6 advantage with 8:21 left in the third.

Wells drove to the Leavitt 22 early in the fourth before Rowland’s pick put a stop to it. Again the Hornets ripped off two big gainers — 38 yards by Rousseau, 25 by Coombs — before Rousseau took it in from 2 yards out.

“Big games like this we just take the offense on the offensive line’s back and run the ball as much as we can,” Sleeper said.

Chris Carney churned out a 34-yard TD for Wells with 2:49 to go. The ensuing onside kick didn’t travel the required 10 yards, though, and Leavitt needed only three plays to cover 49 yards. Rousseau capped the scoring with a 5-yard surge.

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