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Leto scores rare victory over Chiefs

Published Oct. 8, 2005

It was a typical game for Leto as the Falcons won in atypical fashion.

On the road? Against Chamberlain? Against coach Billy Turner? Against running back Eugene McCaslin?

No, Leto hadn't won at Chamberlain in a decade and coach Alex Albert had beaten Turner only once before in seven years, at home for the 1991 district title. But Friday night the Falcons defeated the Chiefs 7-6 at Chamberlain as the Chiefs became the latest victim of the Falcons' late-season surge.

Leto's running game turned in its usual bruising performance while the Falcons' defense kept the Chiefs' explosive running attack in check en route to only Albert's second career victory over Turner.

"Any time you can come to Chamberlain and pull a win out from under Billy Turner, then you know it's special," Albert said.

And Albert knows how close his Falcons were to missing out on the chance to beat the Chiefs. Leto overcame two late turnovers, including the Chiefs' Codrin Coney stripping Falcons' wideout Fred Hayes of a sure touchdown deep in Chamberlain territory in the fourth quarter, to hold on for the win.

Leto's defense gave ground in the first quarter but rose up in last three to bring Chamberlain's running game to a halt, holding McCaslin to 55 yards on nine carries and Chamberlain's offense to a total of 86 yards on the ground.

With their running game stalled, the Chiefs took to the air for their only score of the game. Quarterback Bobby Brown completed five consecutive passes in the final minutes of the second quarter, hooking up with wide receiver Curtis Wilder on a 22-yard touchdown pass with seconds left. But the Falcons blocked Ian Dyer's extra point attempt to make it 6-0.

Leto switched quarterbacks in the second half, going with Jesse Lowery as the Falcons put together a 14-play, 89-yard drive for the game-winning score in the third. That drive was capped by Ray Fletcher's 5-yard plunge to tie the game 6-6. Wayne Murtage's extra point put the Falcons up for good. Fletcher led all rushers with 60 yards on 15 carries.

"Chamberlain's got a great team, but you've got to give our defense credit for stopping them the way they did," Albert said. "And give Jesse Lowery credit. He may not be the most talented quarterback, but the kid's got ice in his veins. He ran the offense well.

"It was just one of those old-fashioned slugfest-type football games. The kind where every first down means something."