Despite missing 2 top running backs, Laurel rolls over Bishop Canevin

Sunday, September 8, 2019 | 12:33 AM

Laurel was missing its two leading rushers because of injuries heading into Saturday’s conference game against Bishop Canevin.

But the No. 2-ranked Spartans didn’t miss a beat as they cruised to a 57-0 victory over the Crusaders (0-1, 0-3) at Dormont Stadium.

Laurel scored touchdowns on all seven of its first-half possessions in building a 49-0 lead.

“I thought the line was much improved from the last couple of weeks,” Laurel coach Brian Cooper said. “I thought we did a great job getting a surge off the ball, and that established a running game.”

The Spartans running game was missing senior Daniel Blank (216 yards) and sophomore Luke McCoy (147 yards). Both could return as early as next week.

Laurel running backs made sure their absences didn’t hurt. The Spartans rushed for 386 yards with six of the 10 ball carriers running for at least 10 yards.

The leader was senior Dom Wade, who has played fullback and quarterback for Laurel this season.

“I’ve had to play from guard, to receiver to quarterback to running back,” Wade said. “I like whatever coach calls to be honest, whatever helps us win.”

Wade capped the scoring for Laurel in the first and second quarters on scoring runs of 40 yards as a fullback and a 1-yard run as a quarterback before the end of the half.

Wade led all rushers with 117 yards and also had an interception.

“He had a coach’s mentality,” Cooper said of Wade. “You can tell that he’s thinking about the game all the time, and he understands the offense and the defense so much that he can make checks and calls.”

Senior Cameron Smith rushed for 87 yards and scored on a 40-yard run, and sophomore Kobe DeRosa rushed for 64 yards and scored twice on runs of 3 and 11 yards for the Spartans.

Despite being ranked in the top five in Class A and Bishop Canevin coming into this Big 7 Conference game without a win this season, Laurel was not going to take the Crusaders lightly.

“We respect everyone. We fear no one, and we play our hardest every game,” Wade said.

The Laurel defense was also impressive. Laurel limited Bishop Canevin to 59 total yards, had two interceptions and kept the Crusaders from gaining a first down until the third quarter.

The shutout is the third in three games for the Spartans, who have outscored their opponents 140-0.

The hot start is big for a Laurel team that won its last four games in 2018 but still missed the playoffs because of a 2-4 start.

“We’re preparing for each team like we’re playing for the championship,” Cooper said. “After last year, we have to make sure we take care of business because the opportunity is right now, and we can’t overlook anything.”

Laurel (2-0, 3-0) has back-to-back nonconference games over the next two weeks as it hosts unbeaten California before visiting Clairton.

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