Leyden trips up Addison Trail
There's an old saying that necessity is the mother of invention.
For Leyden head coach Tom Cerasani it was a saying that unfortunately proved true when an ankle injury to senior running backGabe Guarderas in a Week 2 home loss to Downers Grove North necessitated such improvisation.
The decision came to develop a running back by committee approach by rotating junior linebackers Vince Fredrickson and Nick Motyka into the lineup while creating an additional package featuring senior two-way lineman Fernando "Cheese" Corona as an extra blocker.
"It is not an ideal situation at times," Cerasani said. "But it can also be a pleasant surprise sometimes."
As a result of that ingenuity plus a high percentage passing game and a stifling defense, the Eagles find themselves back in the hunt for a playoff berth after a 21-7 victory over Addison Trail on Homecoming in Northlake Friday Night.
The win moves Leyden (3-3, 2-1) back to the .500 mark with its third straight win after an 0-3 start.
"It was pretty impressive," Cerasani said after a physical battle against the Blazers (0-6, 0-3).
"I thought we played well out there. We didn't make many mistakes. More importantly, we were able to withstand a tough Addison Trail team."
Things got rolling for the home team from the opening kickoff when the Eagles went on an 8 play, 71-yard drive that featured their new running back approach as Fredrickson, Motyka, and Corona all playing roles in the drive which ended when Kyler Britten (13-for-21, 156 yards) found the senior nicknamed Cheese in the end zone from 6 yards out just 4 minutes into the contest.
Then off a fumble recovery from a botched handoff that set them up on the Blazer 22 on the opening play of the second quarter Leyden found pay dirt 6 plays later when Frederickson took it in from the 1 for a 14-0 lead, which would provide the cushion that kept it ahead to stay as the visitors got no closer than 14-7 when Nick Daudelin (6-for-19, 74 yards) found Anthony Carlson for a 13-yard scoring pass just 4:04 before halftime.
The Eagles responded at the beginning of the second half on both sides of the ball which settled things when they forced an illegal forward pass from Daudelin on a botched fourth down attempt that set them up on the AT 32. Fredrickson (25 carries, 79 yards) completed the drive with his second TD run of the night from 12 yards out with 5:15 left in the third.
"It was a tough break when Gabe went out but we have a "next man up" mentality on this team," Frederickson, who added 52 yards receiving on 4 catches, said. "This has always been a tough rivalry game when we play them and tonight was a hard-fought game."
The Eagles hit the road with trips to Downers Grove South and Hinsdale South before returning home to face Morton in three weeks.
"We're right where we want to be, back in control of our own destiny," Cerasani said. "We dug a hole for ourselves to begin the season and we stressed the importance of finishing. Now we have that chance going forward."