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Football: Leo tops Marquette 32-27 in Class 1A

Leo's Theodore Hopkins Jr. (3) runs ball against Marquette Academy Burbank Saturday November 16 2013. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media

Leo's Theodore Hopkins Jr. (3) runs the ball against Marquette Academy in Burbank Saturday, November, 16, 2013. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 18, 2013 6:45AM



Leo quarterback Latrell Giles fought for extra yardage on the majority of his 18 carries Saturday against unbeaten Marquette.

After the contest, an emotional Giles continued to fight — this time to hold back tears — as Leo downed Marquette 32-27 in a Class 1A quarterfinal in Burbank.

“Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve thought about this,” Giles said. “We have a Wall of Fame hall at the school. I always wanted to be in it.”

Giles might have secured his spot. He ran for 78 yards and threw for 98 yards and a touchdown on an efficient 6-for-10 passing performance.

Leo (10-2) advances to face Lena-Winslow in a Class 1A semifinal next week. Marquette finished at 11-1.

“We have a lot of character,” Leo coach Michael Holmes said, “and the guys showed it against a really, really good team. They didn’t bend.”

Leo stormed back from a 20-12 deficit midway through the second quarter after consecutive touchdowns by Marquette’s Cole Lindhout (14 carries, 81 yards, three total touchdowns).

After a 9-yard touchdown run by Leo’s Riley McClendon-Gray, Lindhout scored on a 90-yard kickoff return and then a 4-yard touchdown run four minutes later for the 20-12 advantage.

Leo responded by handing off to Theodore Hopkins, the Catholic League Red Player of the Year. Hopkins hit pay dirt on a 1-yard plunge just before the half to cut Marquette’s lead to 20-18.

Hopkins (19 carries, 98 yards) scored his second touchdown after the break on a 3-yard run. McClendon-Gray ran in the two-point conversion for a 26-20 Leo lead.

“I was ready to sacrifice and do whatever I had to do for the team,” said McClendon-Gray, who added a 29-yard touchdown reception.

Leo, behind a three-sack performance from defensive lineman Terron Bell, forced a three-and-out on Marquette’s next possession, marking the only three plays the Crusaders ran in the third quarter.

“If a team controls the ball for a whole quarter, you’ve got problems,” Marquette coach Tom Jobst said. “I think their strength up front, their size, took its toll.”

After a touchdown from Leo’s Marquis Williams, Marquette cut the lead to 32-27 on a fourth-quarter score from Lindhout. The Crusaders recovered the onside kick for a chance to win, but McClendon-Gray shut the door with an interception with less than two minutes to go.

“My emotions are through the roof,” Bell said. “We’re getting Leo back on the map.”



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