Junior Mikey Jefferson runs for 174 yards as Hinsdale South shuts out Leyden

Seniors Nicholas Ockrim and Sam Schuyler each had interceptions for the Hornets, who didn’t let Leyden anywhere near the end zone.

SHARE Junior Mikey Jefferson runs for 174 yards as Hinsdale South shuts out Leyden
Hinsdale South’s Michael Jefferson (1) follows the blocking of Davon Williams (50) on Thursday against Leyden.

Hinsdale South’s Michael Jefferson (1) follows the blocking of Davon Williams (50) on Thursday against Leyden.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Hinsdale South’s first two games didn’t go according to plan. An 0-2 start can sometimes rattle teams and snowball into a disaster.

The Hornets didn’t let that happen. Two juniors, Mikey Jefferson and Langston Love, led the offense and the defense shut out Leyden in a 28-0 win on Thursday in Northlake.

“We knew something had to change after the first two games,” linebacker Andrew Miller said. “We had to watch more film and try harder in practice. Those were good teams we lost to but it was just some little stuff we did and it hurt.”

The Hornets (1-2, 1-0 West Suburban Gold) held Leyden to 86 yards of offense.

“Our defense has been playing really tough,” Hinsdale South coach Mike Barry said. “All week we focused on our heart and leaving everything on the field and they did that.”

Seniors Nicholas Ockrim and Sam Schuyler each had interceptions for the Hornets, who didn’t let Leyden anywhere near the end zone.

Love, who took over as starting quarterback this season, was 15-for-18 passing for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

“We’d been moving the ball all season but in the first game we had trouble punching it in and in the second we just didn’t score enough,” Love said. “This will kind of change the season for us and help us hit our stride.”

Love connected with six receivers. Schuyler had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Senior Nathaniel Fundator added four catches for 32 yards and a TD.

“Love is off to a great start this season,” Barry said. “He’s been [player of the game] for us twice already. He’s very composed, can read the field and understands where to throw.

Jefferson had 20 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns. His 69-yard run down the left sideline was the standout play of the game.

“My offensive line was in the trenches working for me all game,” Jefferson said. “I came through the hole on that one and knew I had to make a big play and take off.”

Hinsdale South was 4-5 last season and hasn’t qualified for the state playoffs since 2018.

“Last we we had like 500 yards of offense and we ended up losing,” Barry said. “How often does that happen? It was just a matter of showing the kids where they could improve and where we could excel.”

Leyden quarterback James Falco was 5-for-18 passing for 39 yards and two interceptions. Junior Larry Smith had two receptions for 18 yards for the Eagles (0-3, 0-1).

Leyden was 2-7 last year, its fifth consecutive losing season. It’s common for extremely large, two-campus public schools to struggle in football. Morton and Waukegan (the two largest high schools in the state) are other examples. Leyden, which features students from East Leyden and West Leyden, is the state’s 13th largest school.

Tom Cerasani, in his 19th year as head coach at Leyden, sees some positives in his current group.

“These guys are all friends and genuinely like being around each other,” Cerasani said. “That’s important. We like them as a team. We have a lot of juniors playing and some sophomores. We’ll just keep it positive and get better each week.”

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