The Lyons High School football team lost a heartbreaker to Front Range Falcons, 13 to 14, last Saturday after what could have been a solid second win of the season.
After several short runs early in the first quarter left the Lions just short of a first down,  the team pulled of a perfect faked punt and earned a new set of downs. Senior running back Jake Laurienti  carried the ball several times to move the ball within the shadow of the goal post. Then senior, Dante Traghella, leaped over the top for the Lions first touchdown. Sophomore kicker, Alexa Karsel, added the extra point.

The stout Lions’ defense was fired up, forcing negative yardage on the Falcons’ first offensive drive and a quick punt. Lyons running back, Jake Laurienti, had a few successful runs, moving the ball down to the Falcons’ 40-yard line. On third and short, the team decided to go for it, instead of attempting a long field goal, and lost their chance to score. However, the Lyons’ defense again stood tall, and stopped Front Range after gaining few yards.

The Falcons finally scored in the second quarter after a 40-yard pass and catch moved the ball down close to goal line. A final push up the middle scored the touchdown. The point after attempt failed, leaving the Lions up by a score of 7 to 6. The Lions came right back when quarterback Joe McCain, tossed a 35-yard pass to receiver Drew Booth, who then raced it down to the Falcon 20-yard line. Lyons moved the ball on a couple short runs, but two incomplete passes left the Lions without a score. 

Front Range attacked the Lions’ secondary during the next drive and moved the ball down field with some nifty passes, but it wasn’t enough to score. The Falcons drove the ball again in the next quarter, but never made it pass the 50-yard line. Lyons recovered a fumble and tried to take advantage of the opportunity. The swarming Front Range defense gang tackled the Lions running backs and quickly shut them down. On the ensuing punt, Lyons recovered a fumble and was back in business! Once again, the Front Range defense stopped the Lions’ running game, and Lyons wasn’t able to complete their passes either. The offensive stalled on the 29-yard line, and the decision to go for a first down instead of kicking a field goal made. The Lions didn’t pick up the necessary yardage.

Front Range began running the ball on the corners, which was very effective and moved them down to the 1-yard line. A quick sprint to the outside scored touchdown and then another led to the two-point conversion making the score 14 to 7 in favor of the Falcons. The pigskin started getting slippery, as Front Range recovered a fumble on Lyons’ next run. But the Falcons were quickly stopped by a strong Lions defense, and then a fumble recovery for the Lions by junior, Brandon Evans. 
Lyons moved the ball well with McCain hitting junior receiver, Tristan Chavez, for a 20-yard gain. Laurienti ran another 20 yards for the second Lyons’ touchdown to bring the Lions within one, 13 to 14, Falcons. The Lions elected to go for the win, but the two point attempt failed. Front Range tried to run out the clock with some rushing and passing of the ball, but was stopped by a determined Lions defense. 

After the punt, Lyons was back in control with time running out. Quarterback, McCain, hit two 25-yard passes to Chavez and Booth. Several running plays moved the ball to the Falcons’ half yard line. Laurienti took the hand-off, and raced the ball in for what appeared to be the winning touchdown, but a holding penalty cost Lyons the touchdown. With a mere 9.6 seconds left on the clock, the hopeful hometown fans were on the edge of their seats as the Lions tried to ice the game with a field goal. Sophomore kicker, Alexa Karsel, who had kicked a solid extra point score early in the first quarter came in off the bench. But the last second try went wide, and the Falcons were victorious 14 to 13.
After the heartbreaker Coach Jason Yantzer said, “I was very proud of the team and the effort they put out against Front Range Christian. We have a solid team that is just beginning to realize their potential. We made some great plays, and had the opportunity at the end to win it.  Sometimes things just don’t go the way you have them mapped out.”
Jake Laurienti led the team in rushing with 88 yards, while Drew Booth led the Lions in receiving with three completions for 67 yards. Joe McCain completed seven passes for 108 yards. Gabe Paznokas led defense with eight tackles and seven assists.

Yantzer says the team is working hard preparing for this week’s game against Wiggins. “We work hard each week to get better and better as individuals and as a team. We have our game plan for Wiggins and are making some necessary adjustments. The team is excited and will be well prepared for the game on Friday.”

The Lions hit the road again Friday for a 7 p.m., non-conference game against a strong Wiggins team, and then it is on to Yuma on September 22. Join the team back on their home field at 7 p.m., on September 29 for what should be a great match-up against Cornerstone Christian!

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