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Undermanned Warriors fall 75-18 against Wallace

DALTON, Neb. - The Leyton Warriors (0-2, D2-10) welcomed the Wallace Wildcats (0-2, D2-8) into Dalton on Friday evening in a match-up of winless squads. The Warriors dropped their season opener against Hitchcock County 16-14, and had to forfeit their game last Friday against Wauneta-Palisade due to injuries and lack of numbers. Wallace was soundly beaten in their first two games of the 2017 season, 49-0 against Medicine Valley followed by a 71-20 shellacking at the hands of the Paxton Tigers.

For Leyton and head coach Glen Lipska, after graduating a class of eight seniors from last year and now having three players out for Friday night’s game, the Warriors were only able to suit up ten players in the Cardinal and Gold to take on the Wildcats.

Wallace set the tone right out of the gate as just nine seconds into the first quarter, on the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Jared Sullivan found junior running back/wide receiver Micah Swedberg for a 45-yard touchdown, their first of what would be three scoring connections on the evening. Before the fans even settled into the bleachers in Dalton, the Wildcats were up 16-0 after Sullivan ran in a five-yard touchdown just minutes later.

Despite the early deficit, the Warriors came out swinging on their second offensive series as junior quarterback Josh Kruse connected with freshman tight end Zach Henke on a slant route for 45 yards before being pushed out on at the five. One play later, Kruse scampered around the left side and scored the first touchdown for Leyton, cutting the Wallace lead to 16-6.

The quick score didn’t seem to faze the Wildcats, though, as they promptly marched down the field for two more scores and a 32-6 lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter. But once again, the Warriors were able to pull out a big play offensively as Kruse threw a swing pass to freshman wide receiver Dominick Russ, and with a great block from Henke, he ran 59 yards down the right sideline to get the lead back down to 20, 32-12. The Wildcats added another touchdown as senior fullback Logan Rosentrater ran in his second of three rushing touchdowns from 19-yards out to give Wallace a 38-12 lead at the end of one.

With the lack of numbers Leyton came into the ballgame with, Wallace head coach Richard Lee had discussed implementing a hurry-up, fast paced offensive attack this week to try to wear down the Warriors, and some of the fatigue began to set in after the first quarter came to an end.

The Wildcats went on to score 37 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to take a commanding 75-12 lead into the fourth. On the first play of the final quarter of action, Leyton was able to strike for another touchdown, this time Kruse found Henke from ten yards out for the final scoring play of the game, as Wallace went on to win 75-18.

The Wildcats were led by Sullivan who finished 8-11 for 248 yards and four touchdown tosses. He also added 115 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns on 15 carries. Swedberg was the leading receiver for Wallace hauling in five catches for 116 yards, and three trips to pay dirt. The dynamic junior also returned a punt for a 52-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

In stepping in for the injured Kort Dye, Kruse earned player of the game honors for the Warriors unofficially finishing 15-31 for 227 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also added a touchdown on the ground and had a team high in carries with 16 for 65 yards. Russ led Leyton in receiving with four catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Looking ahead for both teams, Wallace heads into a bye week with momentum from the big win. They’ll host the Hitchcock County Falcons (1-2, D2-8) in a home district game on September 22. As for the Leyton Warriors, their season will be week-to-week based on their numbers and keeping players healthy. They are scheduled to hit the road next Friday night to take on the Morrill Lions (0-2, D1-10). The Warriors beat the Lions in Dalton last year, 46-16.

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