The Lyons High School varsity football squad had their best start ever against the Highland Huskies. The Huskies have been a formidable foe over the years with their sizable team, and “hearty” linemen, so fans were ecstatic when the Lions scored two unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter.
Neither team made significant progress during their first offensive possessions, but the Lions came out roaring the second time they got the ball. Lyons’ workhorse
Jake Laurienti ripped of a quick twenty yard run, then quarterback Joe McCain tossed a beautiful pass to rookie senior, Austen Clark, for a catch/run that netted another twenty yards. McCain then hit Aiden Christiansen with a thirty yard bomb that put Lyons just short of the goal line. Laurienti punched it in on the next play for Lyons’ first touchdown.
The Huskies moved just past midfield with several running plays before going to the air. The deep pass was intercepted by Drew Booth on the Lions’ 24-yard line. Laurienti continued to move the ball for the Lions with a few nice running plays before the quarter ended with Lyons up seven to zip. McCain connected with Tristan Chavez for fifteen yards, and then threw another thirty yard bomb, this time to Drew Booth. After a running play that went nowhere, Tristan Chavez caught a perfect twenty yard over-the-shoulder fade route into the back corner of the end zone. The Lions’ special teams performed flawlessly, scoring both extra points and putting their team up 14 to 0 with ten minutes left in the first half.
The Huskies had to work extra hard against a strong Lyons defense but eventually scored after grinding out a twenty-play scoring drive. The Lions went into the locker room at halftime up 14 to 7.
The determined Huskies knotted the score at fourteen all in the third quarter, and shortly thereafter Lyons’ go-to running back Laurienti came out of the game with an injury. Forced into more of a passing game, Lyons threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, and Highland didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the situation. The Huskies scored four touchdowns in the final quarter to rout the Lions 42 to 14.
Head coach, Jason Yantzer, wished the game had ended differently, but said his team fought hard “I am proud of our players for putting up a great fight for the first three quarters. Then some injuries and a few key mistakes took the air out of our sails. For the most part I thought we contained Highland from making big plays at least until the fourth quarter.”
Despite the loss there were definitely some bright spots. Quarterback Joe McCain passed for an awesome two hundred and two yards in the first half. Senior, Gabe Paznokas, finished with eighteen tackles, pushing him over one hundred for the season. Paznokas now ranks second in the state with one hundred and eight total tackles for the season with two games left to play.
The Lions hit the road and travel to Byers on Saturday, October 21, for a 1 p.m. game against the Bulldogs. “It should be a good match-up. We have a long practice week so we should be pretty well-rested and prepared for the game this Saturday,” said Coach Yantzer.
Lyons will be back on their home field on Friday, October 27, for their final game of the season against a very strong Strasburg team. You won’t want to miss this last game. Come out before kick-off at 7 p.m. to honor these remarkable seniors during Senior Night!