Seven cheerleaders lined the sidelines with signs that said it all about the LaCrosse Leopards' season: Unfinished Business. LaCrosse was within one yard of a state title one season ago. This year's Leopards found themselves 9-0 heading into Friday's game with Ell-Saline, ranked number one in the state and looking to start back on the road to Hays for the 2-1A state title game.
LaCrosse showing off its impressive ground game early, scoring on a two yard touchdown run by Levi Morss, then a five yard run by Kip Keeley, and another five yard by Morss. The Leopards had jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Ell-Saline would finally find paidirt in the second when Garrett Walker hit Toby Omli for a 40 touchdown pass. But the LaCrosse defense would clamp down after that.
The Cardinals looked to be driving for another score, but Walker was, instead, intercepted by Lucas Moeder. Moeder returned the ball to the 40 and set up yet another LaCrosse score. Jack Garcia hit Marshall Jay for the touchdown to put the Leopards up 27-6 at the half.
Defense ruled in half number two, with the only score coming on a five yard touchdown run by Garcia. LaCrosse won by a 35-6 final.
The Leopards are now 10-0 on the season and winners of a thrid straight regional title. Head coach Jon Webster said it was a good win, against a very good team. But it's not nearly enough for this squad.
"The seniors got our trophy, came back and it's on the ground, we're not worried about it," said Webster. "We're happy to play one more game. We're proud of what we have done. I'm super proud of my kids for the way they battled. In the long run we will look back and be extremely proud of this victory. But we've got bigger goals this year."
Ell-Saline ends the season at 7-3 on the season.
LaCrosse will host Oakley next Friday night. The Plainsmen knocked off Stanton County 14-12.