By Joel Swanson
BLOOMINGTON - With an undefeated season and a Heart of Illinois Conference championship hanging in the balance, it was LeRoy that stood tall in its battle with rival Tri-Valley at IWU's Tucci Stadium.
Riding a potent offense all year, it was the Panthers' defense that rose to the occasion registering its second shutout of the season with a 34-0 victory.
"This is our first HOI conference title," said LeRoy coach B.J. Zeleznik. "It's a great win for our community and the kids. We are looking forward to the playoffs.
"Our defensive coordinator, Greg Conn, had a phoenominal game plan. There was nothing we weren't prepared for."
LeRoy, ranked fourth in Class 1A, finished the regular season with a 9-0 overall record and a 7-0 league mark. Tri-Valley, ranked fourth in Class 2A, ended the regular season 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference.
Shane Bruning got LeRoy going early in the contest as he broke out for a 75-yard touchdown run to account for the only scoring of the first half. The Panthers' defense was dominant in the first half, holding the Vikings to just 11 yards.
The LeRoy offense came alive in the second half as Bruning scored on a 27-yard touchdown run at the 10-minute minute for a 14-0 lead. The Panthers put the game away in the second half with three more touchdowns.
Bruning finished with 245 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. The dominant Panther defense held the Vikings to just 93 yards.
L - Shane Bruning 75-yd. run (kick failed)
L - Bruning 27-yd run (conversion good)
L- Nic Steven 58-yd pass (conversion good)
L- Corey Eastham 3-yd run (conversion failed)
L- Bruning 85-yd run (conversion good)