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Complete effort powers Leyden
By Bill Esbrook | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 9/7/2012 11:29 PM

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The Leyden defense made its point Friday night with some bruising, old-school hitting.

The Eagles offense got their points with a solid mixture of the run and the pass.

It all led to an impressive 27-0 West Suburban Gold victory over visiting Addison Trail in Northlake.

“Our defense has been awesome all season,” said Leyden senior running back Mickey Gulo, who rushed 18 times for 62 hard-nosed yards.

Eagles junior linebacker Quintin Morgan, who was consistently in the Blazers backfield on ‘D’ and also scored a touchdown on special teams, agreed with his teammate.

“Our defensive backs have been playing great,” said Morgan, “and our defensive line has been bringing it.”

Leyden (2-1, 1-0) opened the scoring in the first quarter when quarterback Michael Smith threw 11 yards to Andrew Vernola for a touchdown.

Then in the second stanza, Morgan scooped up a blocked punt by senior Andrew Garcia and rumbled 11 yards for the Eagles’ second score.

“I almost couldn’t believe it,” said Morgan. “After I picked the ball up, I kind of hesitated — then I just ran it in.”

The home team increased their advantage to 20-0 before halftime when Smith capped a long drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge. The Eagles capped the scoring in the third quarter when Smith ran it in again from 1 yard away.

Addison Trail (1-2, 1-1), which lost starting quarterback Matt Gontarek to an apparent leg injury, came alive in the fourth quarter, twice driving deep into Leyden territory.

But the Eagles defense, led by tackle Javier Rhoades, turned away the Blazers both times. Leyden once stopped AT on fourth down at the 1-yard line.

Addison Trail backup QB John Taylor rushed 10 times for 33 yards, while sophomore wide receiver Javvion Bradley caught 6 passes for the visitors.

For Leyden, Smith finished with 88 yards passing, while the defense held AT to 101 yards of total offense.

“Our coaches have been pushing us to do our best,” said Rhoades. “We’ve been putting in extra conditioning time and working extremely hard in practice.”

“We’re hungry,” added Rhoades. “We want to win conference so bad.”