By Steve Metsch
Lyons Township’s bid for a fifth win and probable playoff spot was put on hold Saturday by York and running back Jake Melion.
The junior ran for three touchdowns, including one with 2:19 left, to seal a 27-14 win for undefeated York in Lyons’ homecoming game.
Lions Head Coach Jon Beutjer said the loss may help his team.
“When you have a lot of success, you don’t want to lose, but it can motivate your team to not be in the situation again,” he said.
“The goal next week is to continue to get better. I believe that great teams continue to get better and peak at the right time. That’s the message for our team.” Beutjer said.
Melion’s message was heard loud and clear.
York Head Coach Mike Fitzgerald called him “a very talented running back.”
He showed that after running back Kelly Watson, part of the Dukes’ RB tandem, went out with an ankle injury early in the first quarter,
Melion ran 24 times, including six in an 80-yard, 11-play drive to sew up the West Suburban Conference victory.
Lyons’ James Georgelos goes in for a tackle of York’s Brian Filosa. York, however, managed to beat the Lions, 27-14. Photo by Steve Metsch
A big play in that drive was when York senior quarterback Matt Vezza hit junior receiver Luke Mailander to gain 44-yards on third-and-19 from York’s 11.
The clutch play “gave us momentum to punch it in,” Fitzgerald said.
Melion, who praised the offensive line, felt bad that Watson was injured “because he’s key part of our team … But I knew I had to stand up and I think I did pretty well today.”
York improved to 5-0 and 3-0. Lyons is 4-1 and 2-1.
“There were a lot of things we didn’t do so well. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Beutjer said.
Nonetheless, the Lions did have York on the ropes twice in the second half after their offense did zilch with four possessions in the first half.
Adjustments had the Lions “more aggressive in the passing game,” Beutjer said.
“We have some very good skill receivers and our quarterback is very good,” Beutjer said. “Sometimes you have a plan going into a game and sometimes it doesn’t always work. And you have to go to Plan B.”
Lyons opened the second half with a 6:38 drive of 80 yards that ended when junior quarterback Ryan Jackson ran in from 10 yards. Senior David Waight’s point after cut York’s lead to 12-7.
After the teams traded possessions, it was time for Melion to do his thing, bursting through the line and dashing left for a 23-yard touchdown with 0:14 left in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.
Once again. Lyons responded.
Jackson found sophomore wide receiver Travis Stamm on pass plays of nine and 28 yards to put the ball at York’s 48.
On first-and-10 at York’s 24, Jackson threw a laser to
senior tight end Graham Smith to put the ball at York’s 3.
After a sack, Jackson hit Stamm for a 5-yard touchdown pass cutting York’s lead to 19-14.
Travis Stamm hauls in this touchdown pass, but Lyons Township was unable to defeat York. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Melion sealed the Lions’ fate with a 14-yard run for the game’s final touchdown.
Jackson, who was 15-of-22 for 159 yards and one touchdown, thought York “may have wanted it more. We came out here a little flat.”
Beutjer winced when asked about what looked like a touchdown pass skipped off the hands of wide-open senior receiver Jack McQueeney at York’s 20.
“It might have been a different football game. But you know what? They’re high school kids. We love them and they work hard all week. You live and learn,” Beutjer said.
On Sept. 30, Lyons plays at Proviso West while York host Glenbard West.
Lyons’ sophomores beat York, 33-32.
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