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Leyden's Michael Smith rolls out of the pocket, chased by Willowbrook's Dom Battaglia. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Leyden coach Tom Cerasani knew a couple of years ago that this senior class had a chance to be special.
Those players proved him right by leading the Eagles to at least a share of their first West Suburban Gold championship since 1998 after beating Willowbrook 42-0 Friday in Villa Park.
“We felt that this senior class would be good,” Cerasani said. “They have really far exceeded our expectations. They’ve been outstanding. It feels good. Now we’ve got to take care of next week.”
Leyden can now win its first outright conference championship since capturing the Des Plaines Valley Conference in 1979 with a victory at home Friday against Proviso East.
Leyden senior quarterback Mike Smith completed 9 of 13 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 93 yards on 12 carries and scored two more TDs.
“This is amazing,” Smith said. “It hasn’t happened at Leyden for a long time, so to be the team that wins conference is awesome.”
The Eagles (6-1, 5-0 WSC Gold) led 21-0 after one quarter and cruised to the victory over Willowbrook (5-2, 3-1), which came in averaging 36.5 points a game.
Andrew Garcia caught four passes for 88 yards and a score, while Mickey Gulo rushed for 43 yards and had a 46-yard TD reception.
Javier Rhoades returned an interception 40 yards for a TD and Frank Gulo closed the scoring with a 4-yard TD run.