LAFAYETTE — At 5-foot-8 and weighing just 160 pounds, Teurlings running back Sage LeBlanc said he realizes he plays at a size disadvantage, but that’s not stopping him from making an impact in his senior season.
“I just use my quickness,” LeBlanc said. “I also like to play with heart. The last few years have been building up for this season, and it has been special.”
No one would doubt the senior is playing with heart. Listed as a tailback, he’s carried the ball only 22 times this season, but his contributions don’t stop there.
In the passing game, LeBlanc is Cole Kelley’s favorite target this season, catching a team-high 57 passes for 826 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s also a force in the return game, something LeBlanc said he has a blast with.
“I love it,” LeBlanc said. “We practice special teams a lot in practice and my team, they know when I get the ball, they’re 100 percent blocking for me on every play. It’s so much fun.”
Teurlings coach Sonny Charpentier called LeBlanc the “go-to” guy in the offense, but said the weapons around LeBlanc allow for one-on-one coverage and his elusiveness takes over.
“You would have trouble tackling Sage in a phone booth,” Charpentier said.
“We have other guys that are weapons, so (opposing teams) can’t double team him all the time. We move him around, and Cole looks for him in certain situations either by design or just making plays. (LeBlanc) has been doing that for us for a while. He’s a playmaker.”
Charpentier said LeBlanc’s size didn’t deter him from going after him. Charpentier said he saw LeBlanc in middle school and knew instantly he had a player.
“We knew he would be good. We just didn’t know what his ceiling would be,” Charpentier said. “He is not big at all, but he’s hard to tackle. He’s worked hard and gotten faster and, that’s made him a little more special this year.”
LeBlanc said he and Kelley have formed an on-field chemistry that is proving to be successful. He said some of the plays are designed for him, but other times, the duo just connects on the fly.
“Cole and I will audible out of plays and maybe call a play to me,” LeBlanc said. “I just get the ball and I try to make play.”
Charpentier said LeBlanc leads by example and takes a more subdued approach to his leadership. He said this being LeBlanc’s senior season has brought him out of his shell a little bit.
“He is like most seniors,” Charpentier said “He knows it’s his last time around, and he takes it a little more serious knowing that this is it. Sometimes a high school kid thinks it’s going to last forever. Once they hit the senior year, they realize this is it and from that perspective you see a difference.
“Sage is not a real rah-rah guy; he lets his play do the talking. They know he is going to give it everything he has on every play.”