Gino Cerrone, of St. Charles East, makes an interception Oct. 4 during their home game against St. Charles North.
Gino Cerrone, of St. Charles East, makes an interception Oct. 4 during their home game against St. Charles North. — SARAH MINOR

ST. CHARLES – Gino Cerrone came into this season hungry.

With three interceptions on the season – including two against St. Charles North in a 31-21 victory last week – it’s easy to see why for the senior St. Charles East defensive back.

“[Cerrone] is essentially two players in one for us,” St. Charles East linebacker BJ Crossen said. “Every game, he is making plays on both sides of the ball, which raises the impact of his efforts on the field.”

He’s made a healthy impact on the Saints. And is happy to be healthy these days.

Cerrone suffered a right ankle sprain in a practice drill heading into the third game of last season against Glenbard North.

“I was only supposed to be out for a week,” Cerrone said. “During that week, I hurt it even worse; it didn’t get any better. I didn’t play [against Glenbard North], and then I went to go see a doctor.”

“It turns out I had a chipped bone [on the right ankle],” Cerrone continued. “I was in a boot. I was walking around. One of the days, I didn’t wear the boot because it was feeling a lot better. People think that it happened that day. It was a freak thing; nobody really knows.”

Cerrone needed surgery, and missed the rest of the varsity football season. However, he was able to return in time for varsity baseball in the spring and summer workouts for football.

“He was going to be a solid safety for us last year,” Crossen said. “That’s why it was tough to see him go down for the season last year. But he worked very hard in the offseason to get his body right – not only to be a starting defensive back, but to be a full-time starter on offense as well. Which was no surprise because of his athletic ability.”

“I think it shows that it’s senior season and I’m willing to fight through anything to play because it’s the last time I’m going to be able to play with my brothers,” Cerrone said.

Cerrone said teammate Clay Conn influences him to be a better football player.

“He has no brake,” Cerrone said. “During practice, he’s always pushing me. Every time I’m tired, I look over at him, He’s fine. So I know I’ve got to be fine.”

Cerrone looks to lead by example.

“Team captains, I feel, have the role of vocally leading,” Cerrone said. “I feel like [as a non-team captain] my duty is to lead by example with my work ethic.”

That type of leadership does not go unnoticed.

“Gino is the type of guy where he is always around,” Crossen said. “He’s one of the first guys at the weight room, at film room, on the field before practice. And one of the last ones to leave. He does a great job of leading by example.”

North Stars QB

shakes off tough game

St. Charles North quarterback Kyler Brown began last week’s crosstown rivalry matchup preparation against St. Charles East on a high note, announcing his verbal commitment to Minnesota-Duluth.

Come game time, however, the Saints defense harassed him into five interceptions. After the game, Brown dismissed whether the announcement was a slight distraction for him heading into the game.

“I don’t really think so,” Brown said. “I think I was in my own head. I don’t think it was about going to Duluth or just committing last week. It was more of just myself and a little thinking a little too much before the game. Maybe, hyping myself ... and you see what happens when I make mistakes.”