WAUSAU, Wis.-(WSAW) The Wausau East football team has had one of their best seasons in years, and the Lumberjacks are doing it on the back of their show-stopping running back, Donovan Leverette.
Wausau East running back Donovan Leverette scores a touchdown against the Merrill Blue Jays on August 23, 2019. (WSAW)
“Yeah, I think I’m built for those moments.”
For Leverette, those moments, the long touchdown runs, and the monster games, have come in bunches this season. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Lumberjacks senior running back has exploded on the scene with over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Both totals more than he had in his sophomore and junior seasons combined.
Where exactly did this come from?
"In past years I kind of just knew with my athleticism and stuff, I knew it would kind of just build up and build up,” Leverette said. “I've always kind of thought I've had this talent in me since sophomore year, but this year it's just blown up even more."
For Leverette, it's easier to run angry when you have a chip on your shoulder.
"It's really, I just want to do it for the school. I want to do it just because everybody doubted us before, and just our past with our previous losing seasons. That's what motivates me the most, just to prove everyone wrong
It's been a down decade for the Lumberjacks, who haven't made the playoffs since 2012. However, they've already won more games this season than they have in the last five years. It's been a team effort, but there's no question Leverette has added juice to a program that desperately needed it.
"Oh yeah. I mean, as humbly as possible, I think I have,” Leverette says on whether he’s provided a spark to the team. “I don't know, I just want to do what's best for everyone, what's going to make our team even better, what's going to get us that next win."
"When we talk about being a playmaker, he's a playmaker on either side of the ball and on special teams,” said Kevin Grundy, Wausau East’s head coach. “That's what makes him very special."
The Lumberjacks will come up just short of that elusive playoff berth. But, the fact that they were in contention up until the second to last week of the regular season, is something they didn't foresee coming at the start of the season. That breeds optimism for future years.
"Oh no, it definitely was not a thought at all,” said Leverette on playoff contention. “I mean it was always like a hope or a wish of ours, but it was never a realistic goal of ours."