By Oskar LaRue
Last Friday night the Class 2A Jefferson Saints (8-1) hosted our Class 1A Lyons Lions (5-1) under the frosty lights of Trailblazer Stadium down in L Lions Outmanned By Jefferson akewood. The Lions were coming off their first loss of the season to Platte Canyon the week before, and knew the Saints were going to be tough, too. The Saints are a 2A program but are playing down a level in the Class 1A-Metro league, which
basically means Jefferson is a bigger school than Lyons. So when the forty or so Saints came marchin’ in to start the game, Lyons Coach Brandon Wilkes surveyed his fifteen guys and knew it was going to be his, and their, biggest challenge of the season.
And he wasn’t wrong. In the first quarter, the Lions defense was stunned by the twenty-one points put up on the board by the speedy Saints in less than nine minutes. Turnovers played a key role as Lyons senior quarterback/linebacker Logan Watson was intercepted twice and fumbled once, two of which were turned into scores. One bright spot defensively for the Lions was a nice interception by senior all-purpose player Trent Poulsen, who wasn’t fooled by the fake double-reverse, long bomb pass play by the Saints. The Lyons rushing game was gaining positive yards with Watson and Poulsen running hard, but those dang turnovers ended the drives. The first quarter ended 21 to 0, Saints.
In the second quarter the Saints had driven all the way down the field only to have Lyons’ sophomore linebacker “Big John” Hickman rip the ball out of the runner’s hand in the backfield and Lyons recovered deep in their own territory. The offense had a nice run by Watson on the next drive, but the Lions had to punt. Watson tried to connect with junior wide receiver Zach Christiansen on a long pass, but after Zach’s huge game last week, the Saints were obviously keeping a close eye on him, and the pass was broken up. The Saints were held to a field goal on their next possession. The Lions still couldn’t move the ball on their next possession, and had to punt again. On the last drive of the half, Jefferson drove all the way down to the Lions’ fifteen yard-line only to be turned away when Hickman sacked the Saints quarterback. The half ended with Lyons down 24 to 0.
Jefferson got the ball first in the second half, and scored on a long drive, making the score 31 to 0. The Lions finally got in the end zone when Poulsen took it in from twenty yards out on a very nice run up the middle. Junior lineman Zach Hoar and Christiansen opened the hole for Poulsen, who then weaved his way to the house. The extra point was no good, and the score was now 31 to 6. On the Saints’ ensuing drive, Poulsen recorded his second interception of the day, an extraordinary catch over his shoulder with the intended receiver hanging all over him.
But once again the offense couldn’t move the ball, and Lyons had to punt. However, the Saints’ punt returner muffed the catch, and Lyons junior special teams ace Austin Meyers dove on the ball. The Lyons offense went back to work as the third quarter ended with the score unchanged.
The final period began with the Lions punting the ball over to the Saints after only three plays. Jefferson then returned the favor as their quarterback threw his third completion to Poulsen, who is not on the Saints’ team, which is why they call those particular catches “interceptions.” Trent’s third interception of the game was another beauty, a leaping grab of the ball right out of the arms of the awaiting receiver. It was all for naught, though, as the offense still couldn’t move the ball against the stingy Saints defense, and Lyons’ punter Poulsen had to punt it away again. Jefferson took the punt at their own forty and returned it to the Lyons’ forty. The Saints’ drive ended abruptly a few plays later when the Lions recovered another fumble in the opponent’s backfield. This time the Lions drove the rest of the field and scored, with Watson and Poulsen doing all the running. Poulsen ran it in from twenty-five yards out on one of his patented slow-down, speed-up, see-ya-sucker moves. Trent’s extra-point kick made it 38-13 with over four minutes left in the game. The Lions then executed a perfect onside kick, and instead of getting the ball midfield, they were called for a penalty and Jefferson had the ball. The defense stopped the Saints this time, and when the Lions got the ball back, they drove the field and scored on nice-looking pass from Watson to Christiansen. The two-point conversion was good and the final score was 38-21. The Lions are 5-2 and are a heavy favorite against Denver Christian on Friday at Mead High School. Go Lions!