WATSON - Cole Leblanc ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more Friday night as Live Oak High started fast and never looked back en route to a 32-19 win over Redemptorist.
All of Leblanc’s scoring came in the first half when Live Oak rolled to a 29-0 lead. Redemptorist outscored the Eagles 19-3 in the second half, but the damage had been done.
“After shooting ourselves in the foot the last two weeks we really played well,” Live Oak coach David Dykes said after his team improved to 1-1.
“The first half we played flawless. We did a great job running the ball between the tackles. Defensively, we were able to take some of their athletes out of the game.”
Redemptorist (0-2) found encouragement from improved second-half play, but only after the Wolves got pushed around most of the first half.
With Redemptorist gaining just 13 yards rushing, the Wolves were forced to rely on the arm of senior quarterback Josh Courtney, who completed 30-of-48 passes for 279 yards. Courtney had second-half touchdown passes of 15 and 21 yards.
“We came out slow, but we’re a young team and that’s going to happen,” Redemptorist coach Aaron Vice said. “At halftime we challenged them to believe. We outscored them in the second half, we just need to come out and throw the first punch.”
Leblanc finished with 103 yards rushing, and completed 10-of-16 passes for 94 yards. The numbers topped a balanced Live Oak attack that totaled 303 yards for the game.
“This is big,” Dykes said. “Redemptorist is such a storied program, and that’s one of the reasons we scheduled them. We knew it would be a great game.”
Live Oak took the opening kickoff and moved down the field with ease.
Starting at their own 39, the Eagles tired a flea flicker on their first play, and were fortunate to get a completion for 10 yards.
After that, the Eagles put away the trickery and ran right at Redemptorist. After the completion, Live Oak ran the ball 10 straight times picking up four first downs on its way to the game’s first touchdown.
After a three-and-out series for the Wolves, Live Oak took over at midfield.
Leblanc rushed three times for 26 yards, and completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Williams.
Live Oak successfully converted its second straight two-point conversion for a 16-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Redemptorist tried a fake punt on fourth-and-13 from the RHS 26, but up back Deno Mullens could find no one to pass to, and scrambled for just 6 yards.
Two plays later, Leblanc kept up the middle of the field, bounced off three tacklers, and rumbled into the end zone from 27 yards out.
With almost the entire second quarter left to play, Live Oak led 23-0.
Following the kickoff, Redemptorist picked up two firsts before stalling at midfield. It got as far as the LOHS 37 on its next series, but Mullens came up short on 4th-and-1.
Live Oak then closed out the first half with an eight-play, 63-yard drive to take a 29-0 halftime lead. Leblanc completed three passes for 32 yards including a 16-yarder to Howard for the score.