Leyden opponents are dealing with more Morgan

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When Leyden captured the West Suburban Gold championship last season, Quintin Morgan contributed to the Eagles’ bedrock defense at defensive end.

This year, teams are dealing with Morgan twice as often. While continuing to wreak havoc as a defensive lineman, he is also starting at tight end on offense.

Even though Leyden (1-5, 1-2) is on the brink of elimination from playoff consideration after a 26-3 loss to Hinsdale South Friday, Morgan is contributing on both sides of the ball in his final high school season.

“Quintin Morgan is a kid that was an all-conference defensive end for us last year,” said Eagle coach Tom Cerasani. “He has not come off the field for us this year. He plays 100-percent maximum effort every play; you cannot say enough about how the kid works in practice and gives everything he has in the game. We have to literally pull him off the field.”

The 6-foot, 210-pound Morgan was ready to go both ways because he started preparing for more playing time before the season kicked off.

“I first started off by getting really conditioned in the summer, so I will not get tired during the games, that is really it,” said Morgan, who recovered a fumble against Hinsdale South that led to a 39-yard field goal by sophomore Kevin Vargas. “I really practice hard so I will not make any mistakes on both sides of the ball. Personally, I like defense because that is what I am better at. I just grew up playing defense.”

The hard work has paid off for Morgan, especially at his new position.

“He has really progressed at tight end this year,” said Cerasani. “He was so good at both spots, as a tight end he has been outstanding. He is a big reason that Aaron Whigham has so many rushing yards this year.

“He is a positive force in the locker room. I cannot say enough about how proud I am of him. The way he has really matured this year, and taken a role as a leader on this team.”

The success of last season’s playoff team helped shape the approach that Morgan has used this year.

“I learned that I can be a leader on the field, that being a leader is one of the key roles on the team,” said Morgan, who wants to play football in college and study to become an athletic trainer. “That is what really helps us on the field. We are a young team and they need to be shown how to play on the varsity level.”

Morgan’s mother Sandra also noticed that his achievements last season laid the groundwork for his additional contributions this season.

“He is 100-percent focused on football all the time,” she said. “His maturity level on the football field is incredible, it has grown definitely in the last year. He got a taste of what winning feels like, and he just wants more and more of it.”

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