The LaCrosse Leopards defeated Meade in the sectional round of the 2A football playoffs. This year they met again in sub-state and the Buffaloes wanted revenge. After a 34-12 victory, Meade’s 14 seniors will get a shot at their second state title.
“It just means everything,” said Meade head coach Scott Moshier. “We don’t want to say that we wanted revenge but we got our tails handed to us last year here at home on this field and now we’re on a bigger stage and we got an opportunity to go back to Hays. That’s something that we are very very proud of, our kids and the work that they’ve done. I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be more proud of these kids so praise the Lord.”
The Meade offense came out as on fire as they claimed. Senior running back Trevin Wiens started the game with a 76 yard touchdown. He was Meade’s leading rusher with 160 yards throughout the game.
LaCrosse responded with one scoring drive in the first quarter but the extra point was not converted. The Buffaloes maintained the lead going into the second quarter 7-6.
The big points came with eight minutes left in the half. Meade Senior quarterback Chris Hardaway pounded in a one yard touchdown run and junior running back Jett Little contributed with a 37 yard score five minutes later. The three Meade backs that scored combined for over 300 yards rushing.
LaCrosse senior quarterback Kip Keeley refused to back down. He was the Leopards leading rusher with 105 yards. His biggest run of the night came on a 50 yard breakout run with two minutes remaining in the half. Meade remained ahead 20-12 going into halftime.
The Buffaloes emerged from the locker room with the mental advantage. LaCrosse did not convert on its first possession and after a Buffalo interception in the end zone they scored early. It was the only score of the third quarter.
That is when Hardaway knew the Buffaloes had won the game.
“When we stopped them on that drive that Mark had that pick in the corner and then we started driving down field,” Hardaway said.
The Leopards pursued another score and refused to believe that was the end.
The fourth quarter was the climax. Meade turned over the ball on downs on their 10 yard line. LaCrosse got a chance to score but a tipped pass intercepted by Jacob Trevino shifted the momentum all in the Buffaloes favor.
A fourth-and-three was déjà vu but Wiens got the first down. The final nail on the coffin was a two yard Hardaway push into the end zone. The Buffs took home the sub-state trophy and the win 34-12.
“It’s a huge win, obviously we get to go back to Hays,” said Little. “It’s just the greatest experience to know that we are going back there and got revenge on LaCrosse.”
“It means a lot because we wanted to go back so bad last year and then being let down by the team that we just beat means a lot,” said Hardaway. “I also want to credit our other backs, our lineman and God because without them we wouldn’t be here right now.”
The Buffs will go on to the state championship in Hays on Saturday. They will take on Centralia, the defending state champions.
“They are a single wing team just like us,” Moshier said. “The last three years, the state champion has been a single wing team. Somebody’s single wing is going to get it and we are very excited about it. We are looking forward to it.”
“I know they have a strong run game and so do we,” said Hardaway. “I think it is going to be fun trying to stop them and them trying to stop us. It’s just going to be smash mouth football.”