Sometimes a team just needs to take a road trip to get back on course. After dropping its first two games of the season at home, Lyons (1-2) went on the road and picked up a 31-14 win over Leyden on Friday night in a West Surburban crossover game.
"I don't really get too caught up in all of that," Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg said of the road win. "All I know is that we needed a win and that's what we accomplished tonight."
It also didn't hurt that the Lions had Leonard Ross suited up for them. The junior tailback rushed for a game-high 225 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.
"I don't really know the stats but I am guessing he (Ross) had a monster game," Weinberg said. "I know that I love handing him the ball.
"He is very explosive. He's a big kid, finishes runs. You better be ready to tackle him when he's coming at you."
Ross displayed his explosiveness on his first score. He beat the Leyden defense to the edge and then out-sprinted everyone else down the right sideline for a 63-yard score in the second quarter.
The score came just three plays after the host Eagles (0-3) grabbed a 7-3 lead on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tom Pajor to Alex Lemon.
Aaron Whigham did his best Ross impression on the Eagles next drive, as he scampered 37 yards to regain the lead for the hosts with 2:12 left in the first half.
The Lions had yet another answer. Using its patented hurry-up no-huddle offense, Lyons needed just six plays and 1:24 to march 58 yards to regain the lead. This time it was Tom Fielder finding Matt Mrazek (7 receptions, 61 yards) from 6 yards out.
"That was a huge play in the game," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said of the Eagles' score before the half. "After you score late in the half and get the lead you need to hold them there and not give up a score."
In the second half the Lions defense went to work. After allowing 104 points in the first two games of the season it was time for the defense to make its mark. The Lions held Leyden out of the end zone for the final 24 minutes of play.
"I was really pleased with our defense tonight, especially in the second half," Weinberg said. "Things were pretty tight in the first half so I was really pleased the kids stepped up and shut them down in the second half."
Leyden was also hurt by losing a pair of offensive starters to injury for the second half. Running back Keenan Davis and wide out Nino Vitagliano both missed the second half.
"That definitely changed what we wanted to do offensively," Cerasani said of the injuries. "But give them (Lyons) credit. We moved the ball some, but they prevented us from punching it in in the second half."
The Eagles managed 123 yards rushing in the game led by Whigham's 99, but just 29 came in the second half.
Leyden opens up Gold Division play by traveling to Addison Trail next Friday, while Lyons begins Silver Division play by hosting Glenbard West.