Coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, Legacy already faced the difficult challenge of avoiding a letdown in a tough road game at Cheyenne on Friday.
Then the Longhorns’ task got even harder. They learned they would have to do it without senior running back Deshae Edwards, the area’s second-leading rusher, who was sidelined because of an ankle injury.
But Martell Crockett and L.J. McMorris filled in admirably for Edwards, and the defense took care of the rest to keep the second-ranked Longhorns unbeaten with a 35-7 victory over the Desert Shields.
A week after beating Palo Verde 7-6 to end the Panthers’ 27-game winning streak against area competition, it wouldn’t have been a surprise for the Longhorns to come out flat and unemotional.
“I was concerned about (a letdown),” McMorris said. “It was huge because we have never beat Palo (Verde) in all our years. For us to beat them was a huge accomplishment.”
Legacy head coach David Snyder said Edwards could have played, but the coach did not want to risk further injury. The senior has run for 1,071 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Not to worry. In Edwards’ absence, Crockett rushed for a game-high 155 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown in the last minute of the first half, and he returned a fumble 65 yard for another touchdown.
McMorris, a sophomore, rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown to help the Longhorns improve to 8-0, 6-0 in the Northwest League.
“Deshae is a good athlete,” McMorris said. “It’s hard to try to step into his place and make up for what he does, so I had to come out and try to prove myself.
“He’s a real big part of our offense, so we just had to step up. That’s how it was.”
Crockett said, “We just had to keep playing. We know (Edwards) is a big part of our offense. I was very excited. I just kept my head up and tried to keep pushing. I tried to get in the end zone every time.”
Snyder was not surprised by the performance of the two running backs.
“These kids are good athletes as well,” Snyder said. “Deshae’s just been here longer than them, but that doesn’t mean anything. These two kids can play football.”
Cheyenne (4-4, 4-3) was unable to get its offense going.
The Desert Shields got within a touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Kody Stahl to Xavian Johnson early in the second quarter, but Legacy scored twice in the final four minutes of the half to take a 28-7 lead.
Stahl completed 9 of 12 passes in the half but threw two drive-stalling interceptions. Legacy forced four first-half turnovers to seize control.
“On our defense, everybody goes after the ball,” Crockett said. “We try to strip the ball and try to score touchdowns off of it.”
Indeed, the Longhorns scored two defensive touchdowns, with Dionte Maxwell adding a 36-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to Crockett’s fumble return. Legacy held Cheyenne to just 163 yards of total offense.
“Our defense is solid,” Snyder said. “They come to play every week.”
Xavian Johnson came on at quarterback in relief of Stahl at halftime and rushed for 47 yards, but struggled to 2-for-11 passing with an interception.