Scouting the Leyden Eagles
With their two top running backs returning, the Leyden Eagles will not need to fly as much.
Leyden will be looking to ground its opponents down this year. Vince Fredrickson, who was all-area last year and rushed for 658 yards and 14 touchdowns in 7 games. Nick Motyka, who stepped in when Fredrickson was injured, banged out 192 yards on 42 carries.
Both will be in the backfield together on most pays, giving Leyden a terrifying 1-2 rushing attack.
"Our offense returns running backs Vince Fredrickson and Nick Motyka along with Tyler Saldana," said Leyden coach Tom Cerasani, who begins his 15th season as head coach of the Eagles."
"We feel like we will be able to move the ball effectively on the ground and be efficient in the air. Vince will be the focus of the offense. His size and speed makes him difficult to tackle. Last year was the first time he ever played running back. The year of experience should help him excel this season."
Injuries took their toll on Leyden early in the season last year, when the Eagles were 4-5 and missed the playoffs. Cerasani feels his team can turn its fortunes around this season.
The Eagles will have to do it this season with a new quarterback at the helm. Jim Lonigro, who played wide receiver last year, moves over to the quarterback spot to take over for the graduated Kyler Britten.
"We have a new quarterback in Jimmy Lonigro, who started at wide receiver and strong safety last season," Cerasani said. "He is a tough kid. He is a wrestler. Jimmy didn't come off the field last year. He has a very strong arm and he can run He has shown great poise and leadership skills."
With a two-back set, Tyler Saldana and Andrew Parisi will be the starting wide receivers with Elisha Brown stepping in at times. Massimo Dell'Oglio (6-6, 235) who will give Leyden another big part to the offensive line, will be the tight end.
The Eagles can look to be a run-first team thanks to a huge offensive line that includes Jimmy O'Donnell (6-2, 270), Roger Sewell (6-2, 230), George Linares (5-11, 2200 and Juan Mendoza (6-1, 270).
Defensively, Leyden will stay in its 3-4 scheme. That allowed the Eagles to lead the West Suburban Gold last season by allowing just 15.1 points per game.
Cerasani said that the linebackers will be the significant part of the Eagle defense. Just like at running back, Fredrickson and Motyka will be the keys. The duo will anchor a linebacking corps that includes Jason O'Donnell and Colin O'Neil.
"The defense is tough," Cerasani said. We return Motyka at inside linebacker. We will be an attacking defense that will create turnovers."
Leyden will be just as large on the defensive line. Tyler Lester (6-0, 240), joins Jimmy O'Donnell and Dell'Oglio up front.
The corners will feature Darius Cirton and Tyler Saldana while the defensive backs will be Ryan Czerwinski and Nico Venezia.
With a schedule that features three powerhouse teams in the first four weeks of the season, Leyden will be looking to get off to a good start.
"We shall see," said Cerasani, whose team plays Shepard, Glenbard West and Willowbrook during that stretch. "And our conference will be tough as usual. Our goal is the same -- to make the playoffs and compete for the conference championship."