Proviso West spoils Leyden's home debut at Triton College

For Leyden coach Tom Cerasani, these last few days have been quite interesting.

It began a week ago Friday leading his Eagles into their season opener at an emotionally-tinged environment in Highland Park as the north suburban community observed a moment of silence to mark the tragic events that took place at the previous month's 4th of July Parade.

This past Monday, he celebrated his 50th birthday with his wife Sarah and their two daughters Sydney and Samantha in addition to other family and friends.

Thursday evening, he alongside his coaching staff and school support staff commenced the technical and logistical support needed as Leyden held the first if its four "home" games this season at Triton College in River Grove. The Eagles' regular gridiron nest at their West campus in Northlake is undergoing renovations this fall making it unusable for play.

Cerasani entered this West Suburban crossover versus Proviso West hoping that what he witnessed in that opening contest, his team's late rally from an 18-point fourth quarter deficit that fell just three points short as time expired, could serve as a foundation for his 18th season at the helm.

Unfortunately, he and the near capacity crowd at Triton's East Campus Athletic Complex Field saw an offensive display by Panthers quarterback D.J. Jones that Leyden couldn't find an answer for in a 39-26 loss. The setback puts the Eagles at 0-2 on the young season as they head to Hinsdale South next Friday to begin WSC Silver play.

Jones, a senior, went 18 of 29 for 375 yards and 5 touchdown passes. Three of those TD passes went to fellow senior Jermaine Shepard (28, 70, and 16 yards). His first and last TD tosses went to senior flanker Kendall Brown (73 and 63 yards) as West (2-0) led 21-12 at half and 33-12 late in the third. Leyden got no closer than the game's final score.

Senior Ethan Corral (13-30-244 yards) threw a pair of TD strikes to Jake Sarnecke (31 yards) in the first and a 19-yard scoring toss to Mario Reyes in the third before keeping it for a 4-yard TD run in the fourth. Reyes also added a 77-yard kickoff return in the first for the Eagles.

Cerasani lamented his team's inability to sustain drives including a pair in the first half which stalled inside the Panthers' 20.

"I think our passing game has been pretty good," Cerasani said. "The problem we've had right now is running the ball (20 carries, 9 yards). To successfully sustain drives we've got to be able to gain yards on the ground and keep our defense off the field."

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