Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg had a simple game plan for the second half Saturday against Downers Grove North: Give the ball to Leonard Ross.
The Miami, Ohio-bound Ross responded with a season-high 192 yards on 35 carries and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Lyons gouged Downers North for 163 yards rushing in the second half on its way to a 21-7 West Suburban Silver victory.
The leaders of Lyons’ offensive line are a pair of brothers, Blaze and Chase Nacker, who act as bookend guards ouside senior center Ethan McGahay. Blaze Nacker is the 5-10, 235-pound senior right guard while Chase Nacker is the 6-0, 255-pound junior left guard. Both are in their second season as starters.
“It’s a nice thing that they are brothers,” Ross said. “Both like the contact. They fight for each other and they help me by opening big holes.”
Weinberg describes the brothers as “quiet” kids. The brothers are the core of the offensive line, which includes tackles Noah Davis and Taylor Curlin.
“They are nice kids,” Weinberg said. “They are the kind of kids that if you were their age you would like to hang out with. They are all about LT football.”
Before the brothers moved to Countryside, they grew up with teammate Andrew Ostrowski on the same block on South Seventh Avenue in La Grange. Now Blaze and Chase Nacker face Ostrowski, the Lions’ starting defensive end, every day in practice.
“We are good friends,” Blaze Nacker said. “We played baseball with him for a long time on the La Grange Panthers and the West Suburban Warriors.”
The Nacker brothers were coached from second to eighth grade by their father, Blaze, on the Western Springs youth football team. Their father was an offensive lineman for Brother Rice.
“Since we were a young age, he told us the same things other coaches say. The exact same thing. Dad knows his stuff,” Chase Nacker said.
Against Downers North (1-4, 0-3), Lyons (3-2, 1-1) set the tone right after Trevor Hill’s kickoff to Swinehart to open the second half. The next nine plays were running plays. Quarterback Tom Fiedler threw seven passes in the second half, while Lyons ran the ball 33 times.
“I’m tired, but it feels good to get the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters,” said Ross, who rushed nine times for 72 yards in the first half.
Ross, who had one touchdown called back due to a penalty, scored on a 6-yard carry and a 2-yard plunge to cap back-to-back series in the third quarter.
- The Trojans lost their fourth consecutive game.
- Blaze Nacker suffered a cramp in his right leg near the end of the third quarter, but returned in the fourth quarter.
- The teams were tied at 7-7 at halftime. Lyons’ first score came on a 36-yard interception return by safety Brendan Swinehart.