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N.C. native Leach did his part in Super Bowl win

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NEW ORLEANS Vonta Leach’s stat line from the Super Bowl wasn’t gaudy – four touches for 11 yards.

Baltimore’s Pro Bowl fullback did what he always does – give up his body for the good of the team. As a result, Leach will have a gaudy Super Bowl ring for his efforts.

Leach said last week he hoped to earn a ring to show off in Rowland, a town of 1,000 that has a sign greeting motorists on their way to Myrtle Beach that reads, “Home of Vonta Leach. NFL PLAYER.”

They will need more paint to update it with, “SUPER BOWL CHAMPION.”

“When the confetti fell I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was the happiest moment of my life,” Leach said Sunday in the afterglow of the Ravens’ 34-31 victory over San Francisco. “I finally can say I’m the world champion.”

Leach’s contributions to Baltimore’s second Super Bowl title were overshadowed by the play of quarterback Joe Flacco, two electrifying touchdowns by wideout/kick returner Jacoby Jones and a power outage at the Superdome that delayed the game for 34 minutes in the third quarter.

Leach, who played at East Carolina, had one carry for 1 yard and three catches for 10 yards. The rest of the game he spent hammering his 6-foot, 260-pound body into 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and anyone else who happened to get in his way.

“I just wanted to do anything to help this team, whether it’s catching the ball out of the backfield, pass-blocking or just run-blocking,” Leach said. “I wanted to sacrifice my body for everyone.”

Flacco was the main beneficiary of Leach’s blocking. Given time in the pocket, Flacco threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.

After Jones took the second half kickoff back 108 yards to put Baltimore up 28-6, it looked like the Ravens were on their way to a blowout.

Then the lights went out.

“We came out here and lit up the scoreboard and the power went out,” Leach said. “I thought Beyoncé was jamming too hard and blew out the power.”

The Ravens lost their spark during the delay, and San Francisco made a game of it behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick. But a goal-line stand by the Ravens’ defense in the final two minutes ensured the Lombardi Trophy was going back to Baltimore.

“We had a lot of momentum. We had just ran a kick back and we were rolling. Those 35-40 minutes took our momentum away,” Leach said. “But hey, we came out on top and we did what we wanted to do.”

The Super Bowl victory mirrored the Ravens’ season. Baltimore lost four of its final five regular-season games, costing the Ravens any chance at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and casting doubt on their championship chances.

But after beating Indianapolis at home in the Wild Card round, the Ravens went on the road and beat Denver and New England to make it to New Orleans.

Leach, 31, missed out on a third trip to the Pro Bowl when the Ravens advanced to the Super Bowl. He wasn’t complaining.

“That’s the thing about our team. Everybody outside the locker room is always counting us out. We never break,” Leach said. “We knew what kind of team we had and we knew our number one goal coming into this season was to win the championship. We went through a lot of adversity during the year that normal teams don’t go through. We had a lot of key guys out for a long period of time.”

One of those guys is linebacker Ray Lewis, who missed 10 games with a torn triceps before returning for the playoffs. Lewis announced before the Wild Card game that he was retiring after 17 seasons, and the Ravens wanted to send their emotional leader out with a title.

“Not one man can replace Ray (Lewis) and what he meant for this team, this organization and the city of Baltimore. Collectively, I think we have a lot of guys that can put together our best Ray impression,” Leach said. “But this is always how the Baltimore Ravens organization has been. Players step out and new players step in.”

And though it might not be flashy, Leach will be there to do his part.

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