Cerasani, Leyden golden after victory over Morton
For Leyden coach Tom Cerasani, Eagles football has been a nearly constant thread woven throughout his 44 years of life.
His father Tom, a 1965 East Leyden grad, earned a scholarship to Missouri State while playing for Hall Of Fame Leyden coach Jack Leese.
His late mother, Joan, a 1968 East grad, took a 2-year-old Tom to watch his dad as an assistant to Bob Ferguson at Schaumburg High during their MSL Super Bowl Title season of 1974 -- a season that was bookended by losses to both of the Leyden campuses, with the latter coming against East in a Class 5A first-round loss in the first-ever state playoffs.
Twenty-five years later, in 1999, Tom would get to watch his father guide the Saxons to a Class 6A state title game berth that had started off with a season-opening loss to Leyden.
In 2007, father and son were reunited for the first time since the younger Cerasani quarterbacked at Schaumburg from 1987 to 1989, leading them to an MSL South Division crown and a playoff berth in his senior year as the older Cerasani coordinated the defense.
And on Friday night with his dad in attendance, Cerasani led his Eagles squad to a 48-6 win over Morton in Northlake. The result earned Leyden a share of the West Suburban Gold title in addition to clinching the school's first playoff berth since 2012, and the eighth in school history.
"We're just glad to be back (in the postseason)," the 10th-year coach said after earning his 50th career coaching victory and fourth postseason appearance.
Leyden (6-2, 5-0) showed its postseason mettle with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball.
The host Eagles amassed 431 yards of offense and had built a 21-0 advantage in a little over seven minutes gone by.
Senior Jalen Moore scored on runs of 11 and 50 yards, and senior tailback Fabian Vega scored on a 52-yard gain on a speed-option pitch.
The hosts then lived up to their nickname by going airborne. Senior QB Michael Wilms went 7-for-11 for 88 yards, with TD tosses of 11 and 4 yards to senior wideout Joshua Cubon as Leyden grabbed a 35-0 lead.
The Eagles made it a running clock for the third time this season when Proviso West transfer Donovan Brown (14 carries, 68 yards) scored on a 26-yard run with 7:41 left in n the third quarter. Reserve tailback Nico Sanchez closed out the home team's scoring with a 95-yard run with 10:44 remaining.
Leyden kept the visiting Mustangs (1-7, 1-4) in check to the tune of allowing just 162 yards total offense while forcing 5 turnovers. Only a 16-yard Fernando Adame TD pass to Greg Hoard with 4:50 left averted a shutout.
"Our goal tonight was to come out strong," Moore said. "We wanted to clich a playoff spot tonight. Last year we had some tough losses (when 4 of the team's 5 losses were by combined 12 points) and we gained some maturity from it."
Maturity that their head coach sees as a positive heading into a Week 9 tilt at Willowbrook next Friday, with an outright WSC Gold title and a possible first-round home playoff game at stake.
"We've had a goal from the beginning in terms of the conference championship and making it to the playoffs," Cerasani said. "Regardless of who your opponent is, you never know what will happen. But when you have good, solid senior leadership it's always a plus."