WATERLOO – Peyton Wall has done it all for Leo this season.
That was on full display Friday night as the running back had a rushing, receiving and kickoff return for a touchdown in the Lions’ 42-19 win over DeKalb in Waterloo in the final game of the regular season.
“He’s an excellent football player, and has just natural skills," coach Jared Sauder said. "He’s a great running back and a good defender as well, so we’ve had some kids in the 2010-11 year as well, but he’s right up there with them; he’s one of the best runners we’ve had here.”
Wall intercepted DeKalb quarterback Evan Eshbach and completed a lateral pass to teammate Peyton McHale for a touchdown. Wall accounted for 148 all-purpose yards.
“Going 8-1 this year, coming into it we thought were going to improve everyday,” Wall said. “Only losing one game to East Noble this (win) helps us into sectionals when we play Angola; it's a real confidence booster.”
The Lions were once down in the ultimately lopsided game. The Barons executed a near-perfect first possession that ended with Landon Miller extending his body to the pylon to go up 7-0.
"We were able to kind of face that and stay in the ball game and keep playing,” Sauder said. “That was good to see to face a little bit of adversity, and we saw our guys battle a little bit, and going into the playoffs here that’s a nice thing to witness our guys battling through all of it.”
Wall then lateraled the ball to McHale who took it to the end zone from 25 yards out to tie the game at 7.
The Baron defense held strong in the first half, slowing down the Lions’ offense and forcing sophomore quarterback Jackson Barbour to make plays – which he did.
"That was nice to see when they kind of shut down our run game in the first half we were able to come back and throw the ball a little bit and get a couple scores throwing it," Sauder said. "In the second half that helped us run the ball a little more effectively.”
Barbour went 7 of 14 for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
DeKalb didn’t go away quietly. The Baron offense had the ball for the entire third quarter and finished off the lengthy drive with an Eshbach quarterback sneak from the one-yard line to make it a one possession game.
But two quick touchdowns by Wall and Owen Lantz put the game nearly out of reach before Wall’s kickoff return iced it for the Lions, who’ve won eight games for the first time in four seasons.
Eshbach went 15 of 22 for 129 yards, two rushing touchdowns and a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kai Zacharias.
DeKalb will play Columbia City in sectionals next week and Leo will play Angola.