By Larry Duling
LEROY – Shane Bruning rushed for 265 yards and four touchdowns to lead LeRoy to a 37-24 Heart of Illinois Conference victory over previously undefeated Ridgeview on Friday in Heart of Illinois Conference action and a matchup of state ranked teams.
Bruning scored three of his touchdowns in the first half as LeRoy raced to a 22-0 lead and its seventh straight victory. The Panthers are 6-0 in the conference, while Ridgeview slipped to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in league play.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bruning scored on runs of 9, 61 and 7 yards, then added a 39-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half. In all, the workhorse senior running back carried the ball 30 times, averaging almost nine yards per carry.
"They were determined not to let us get outside," said LeRoy coach B.J. Zeleznik. "They flew hard and boy did our guys block the off-tackle hole well. Our wing backs blocked great and Shane Bruning ran the ball hard.
"Our key defensively was that our line had to stay low and get off the ball. We wanted to force them into second down and long, and third and long. We felt if we could do that we could hang with them."
Ridgeview was able to close the gap to 30-16 with 6 minutes to go on two touchdown passes by Matt Barnes. The first was a 27-yard screen pass to running back Josh Weier late in the third quarter. The second came on a 46-yard pass to Jordan Zielsdorf.
But LeRoy senior running back Austin Eddy sealed the game with a 48-yard touchdown run that put LeRoy comfortably ahead 37-16 with 3:05 to go. Ridgeview then added a late score by Zach Walker on a 58-yard run.