After Friday's 21-7 win over Columbia City, Leo's players said all the right things.
The regular season isn't yet over for the Lions (7-1, 6-0 NE8). DeKalb is waiting for them next week, and the Lions may be in trouble if they look past the Barons (1-4, 1-3 NE8).
Leo hasn't clinched a conference title just yet, but now that Columbia City (6-2, 4-2 NE8) has lost two in a row only Norwell (7-1, 5-1 NE8) still has a chance of matching Leo's league record if the Lions lose in Week 9.
An outright title would be Leo's first since the current NE8 took shape in 2015.
"We've been talking all year about the NE8 championship, and for us this win is a big win, but we have DeKalb next week," said Rylan Crawford, who caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Jackson Barbour and twice intercepted Columbia City quarterback Greg Bolt on Friday. "We know the job's not done. We still have to beat DeKalb to get the NE8 championship. We've discussed this, we want to be the first Leo team to have an NE8 championship by ourselves and not share it with another team."
Relishing rivalry win
Bishop Dwenger's 17-7 victory over Snider at Shields Field was the Saints' second consecutive win in the annual rivalry game, the first time Dwenger has won two in a row against the perennial powerhouse Panthers since 2007 to 2010, when the Saints took four straight.
Before 2019, the Panthers had won seven of the last eight meetings, including handing Dwenger its only loss in 2018, when the Saints won the Class 4A state title.
"It means a lot, this rivalry goes way, way back," Bishop Dwenger coach Jason Garrett said. "They're still way up on us in terms of wins, but it's one of those things you look forward to every year. It's a huge rivalry, a great program, a great coaching staff, great players, so we're happy to have two in a row, no doubt."
Saints quarterback Brenden Lytle, a three-year starter, lost to the Panthers in 2018, but has now improved his record to 2-1 against them with back-to-back victories. He also became the all-time leader in career passing yards at Dwenger with 169 on Friday night.
"It's huge because I feel like every (year) we get their best game and our best game," Lytle said of the rivalry matchup. "It's always a close game until the end. When I was a sophomore I lost to Snider and it was the worst feeling ever, but (Friday) it felt good to win."