Leyden gets ready for Thursday Night Football

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/31/2022 7:12 AM

Friday Night Lights are going to Thursdays for Leyden this year.

The Eagles have moved all four of their home games to Triton College in River Grove. Leyden will play three of those games, beginning this week against Proviso West, on Thursday nights.


Leyden will also play Morton in Week 4 and Addison Trail in week 8 on a Thursday night. Only the Eagles' homecoming game with Proviso East will be on a Friday during Week 6.

Leyden has been playing its games on the West Leyden campus in Northlake since the schools merged in 1980. The bleachers and he surrounding buildings were in dire need of a remake, so the district is taking the opportunity to rebuild them this year.

With Triton College available, it gave the Eagles a terrific field to play their games on. And a night where the Eagles are the only game in town.

"Our field is under construction this year," Leyden coach Tom Cerasani said. "We are going to have new stands and we have buildings going up. So, we'll be back to Leyden next season."

Cerasani took things one step further.

"The Thursday night games are a way to alleviate the problems with the official shortage," Cerasani said. "The players were not that happy about playing at Triton, or Thursday nights, because they were worried about fans coming out to the games."

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Cerasani talked to his players that by playing on Thursday, the Eagles would have the Thursday night spotlight shining brightly on Leyden. There was also the added bonus of doing more than their part to helping alleviate some of the officiating shortages on those weeks.

"After explaining the situation with our stadium, and the problems with officials they have come around," Cerasani said. "It will be a unique experience for them, hopefully positive, but we'll know more after we do it."

Record week:

It was just the first week of the season but school records came crashing down.

Prospect quarterback Brad Vierneisel had a magnificent first start last Friday.

The senior was 15-of-21 for a school- record 452 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for another score as the Knights rolled past Sandburg.

Not to be outdone was Wheeling.


The Wildcats became one of the first teams to play in 2022 when they beat Round Lake last Thursday. The game was played a day early because Round Lake had a conflict on campus on Friday and Wheeling could not play on Saturday. Based on that and the officiating shortage, the IHSA allowed the teams to play.

Wheeling broke the all-time school record for points in a game. The Wildcats had scored 57 on two prior occasions.

Also breaking a record that day was running back Simon Micula. The senior scored a record five touchdowns while rushing for 90 yards in just 18 minutes of play.

Hersey milestone:

The Huskies opened their 2022 campaign with their 500th game in school history. They made it a memorable one, blanking New Trier 31-0.

Hersey, which began playing football in 1968, is now 260-239-1. One of those victories came in 1988 when the Huskies won the class 6A state title, beating East St. Louis 26-6. That win came under legendary head coach Bruce Glover, who won 78 games.

Last Friday, it was new Hersey head coach Tom Nelson's first career victory. Nelson and the Huskies will go for their second win Friday when they host Fremd.

MSL Crossover week:

This weekend marks the only week of the season where the MSL West and East teams will meet.

This used to be a three-week occurrence each season. But that number of games was reduced to one beginning in 2016 when the MSL and CSL began their series of nonconference games.

The West has had an advantage over the East during those last 6 season, going 24-12. But twice during that span, both divisions split the six games, including last year when the record was 3-3.

It is all a far cry from the previous six years when the West went 79-29 against their East opponents.

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