CLINTONVILLE — Peru and AuSable Valley both lost a star running back in the first five minutes of their Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football game Friday.
But the Indians’ philosophy is: Next man up.
The next man, Mackenzie LaRocque, rushed for two touchdowns and more than 100 yards as Peru kept its offense rolling and defeated AuSable Valley 47-7. The Indians (3-0) also received contributions on the ground from Dustin Landon and Rivelino Hendricks.
“I need everybody on my football team ready to contribute,” Peru coach Nick Damiani said. “I believe in everybody on my roster from top to bottom. When one guy’s not out there getting the job done, I’m fully confident that the next guy gets the job done.
“And I saw that. I thought they did a nice job stepping up, and they didn’t allow it to be a distraction.”
The Indians didn’t take long to pull ahead. During the first drive of the game, Zane Bazzano returned an interception to AuSable Valley’s 9-yard line, and Jozua Cote ran it into the end zone from there.
That was Cote’s last carry of the night. During Peru’s next possession, Cote and AuSable Valley’s leading rusher, Dillon Savage, were ejected for throwing punches.
With Cote out, LaRocque knew he had a chance to step up.
“That was something I wanted to do,” LaRocque said. “You know you have to get the job done.”
The Indians finished the drive with a 30-yard passing touchdown from Blake Altizer to Bazzano, and four minutes later they took a 20-0 lead on Anthony Gallo’s 11-yard touchdown reception.
Then Peru turned back to its ground game. Landon scored from the 7 late in the first quarter, and LaRocque ran for touchdowns of 20 and 6 yards in the second.
LaRocque totaled 115 yards on eight carries. He was the team’s second-leading rusher last season, but he missed the 2013 season opener and had six carries last week. His two trips to the end zone Friday were his first of the season.
“It felt good to get back in there,” LaRocque said, adding that he’s been playing more on defense this season.
Peru took a 40-0 lead into the half and added one more score in the third quarter — a three-yard run by Landon, who finished with 38 yards.
Altizer completed his first six pass attempts and ended up 11-for-17 for 166 yards. Bazzano had four catches for 76 yards, while Gallo and Patrick LaRocque each caught three passes.
The Patriots (1-2) were held to 71 yards rushing. They moved the ball through the air but also threw three interceptions.
“Defensively, we flew to the football. Forced four turnovers,” Damiani said. “We haven’t forced a lot of turnovers this season. We talked about how the defense had to get the ball in the offense’s hands more so they had more opportunities to score, and we did that.”
John Goodnough scored AuSable Valley’s touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. He rushed for 64 yards on the night and completed 12-of-29 passes for 184 yards. Tyler Champine caught four of those for 76 yards, and Sultan Sikandar grabbed three for 45.
Peru 47, AuSable Valley 7
Peru 27 13 7 0 — 47
AuSable Valley 0 0 0 7 — 7
P- Cote 9 run (Guay kick), 1:32.
P- Bazzano 30 pass from Altizer (Guay kick), 4:21.
P- Gallo 11 pass from Altizer (kick blocked), 8:19.
P- Landon 7 run (Guay kick), 2:04.
P- LaRocque 20 run (run failed), 4:20.
P- LaRocque 6 run (Guay kick), 7:21.
P- Landon 3 run (Guay kick), 2:55.
AV- Goodnough 1 run (Friedrich kick), 3:36.
P- M. LaRocque 8-115, 2 TD; Landon 3-38, 2 TD; Hendricks 3-20; Rock 1-17; Cote 1-9, TD; Mason 1-8; Wyckoff 1-0; Altizer 2-(-1), Gallo 2-(-2). Totals: 22-204, 3 TD.
AV- Goodnough 15-64, TD; Kennedy 3-4; Ashline 1-3; Savage 2-1; Pray 2-(-1). Totoals: 23-71, 1 TD.
P- Altizer 11-17-0-166, 2 TD. Gallo 2-2-0-15. Totals: 13-19-0-181, 2 TD.
AV- Goodnough 12-29-3-184.
P- Bazzano 4-76, TD; P. LaRocque 3-33; Gallo 3-31, Hendricks 2-31; TD; Smith 1-10.
AV- Champine 4-46; Sikandar 3-45; Perkett 2-26; Kennedy 2-23; Perez 1-44.
P- Bazzano 2, Gallo.
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