Ross, Lyons Rumble to Win

It wasn't pretty, but nothing about Lyons junior running back Leonard Ross's game is for show. The do-it-all tailback for the Lions performed just about every role in their win against Downers Grove North Friday night.

Lyons Township junior running back Leonard Ross isn't flashy by any means, but get in his way and he'll make you feel it.

Ross didn't get his usual workload carrying the ball Friday night against Downers Grove North, but he did a lot of the dirty work that a complete back needs to do to help his team get the win.

"We scouted their linebackers and knew we could beat them as far as speed and physical capability," Ross said. "I knew coming into the game we wouldn't run the ball a lot, but I got what I could when we did run the ball."

A 17-10 win for Lyons was huge for the momentum of their season. Instead of falling to 1-4, they now stand at 2-3 and stay alive in their fight for the playoffs. Ross knew the importance of the game when he took the field that night.

"It was very important," he said. "Especially after our last game. We couldn't go into our next game 1-4. It was a must-win, and from now on, every game is a must-win."

Coming into the game, the Lyons defense was a bit of a question mark, but after holding North to just ten points, Ross feels a lot more confident now in his guys.

"It's beautiful," he said. "I trust my defense. At first I was a little iffy, but now I feel much better about it."

But it will take more than just the defense to be successful this year. Ross came back this year bigger, faster, and stronger. He also improved in the mental aspect of the game and improved his decision making.

"I'm tougher, I feel like I'm faster," he said. "I know how to read the defense better. Last year I just kind of ran free, but this year I know where to go and can get more yards."

Ross picked up an early offer from Illinois. Though no other offers have come through yet, plenty of schools are getting heavily involved, including a few from the Big Ten.

"No other offers besides Illinois," Ross said. "Northwestern was at the game, and I've been getting a lot of other looks. Indiana is really interested in me right now. I think they may offer me next."

Ross hasn't hit the road yet for any trips, but those are likely just around the corner.

"I haven't taken any visits yet because of family stuff I've had going on," he said, "but I want to make it out to at least one of those Big Ten schools for a game."

Ross sees himself as a Big Ten type of running back. He takes a lot of pride in being a complete back and really enjoys doing everything a running back is asked to do.

"I want to go to the Big Ten," Ross said. "I think it fits my style. I like blocking for the quarterback. I like making those big hits. I wouldn't have to run the ball all the time."

He knows the importance of doing the little things and knows that those little things can make a big difference.

"A lot of people don't look at blocking as in-depth as I do," he said. "Those blocks could mean a big run or a deep pass. When I get those key blocks, I know I did my job. I'm happy that it helps us get the win."

Ross won't be picking a school based on football alone, and one thing in particular will weigh heavily in his decision when the time comes.

"Academics," he said, definitively. "I want to get a degree. I know that it's not all about football. You have to be good on the field and off the field. I want to go into marketing. I like people and persuading them into what I like to do, so that's the fit for me."

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