Glenbard W. 13
Lyons Township saved its best for last during an impressive 31-13 win over highly regarded Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn on Saturday afternoon. The Lions’ victory earned them a share of the West Suburban (Silver) Conference title with the host Hilltoppers and York, snapped Glenbard West’s 27-game regular season win-streak, and landed LT a No. 2 seed in the loaded Class 8A playoffs.
The Lions are hoping for another peak performance in the playoffs, which open for host LT on Friday (7:30 p.m.) against Chicago Vocational.
Picked by many in the preseason to finish towards the bottom of the conference race, the fired up Lions set the tempo early against the Hilltoppers at picturesque Duchon Field. After Glenbard West botched a punt attempt, LT took over at the Hilltoppers’ 8-yard line. Three plays later, LT quarterback Brian Kelley (8-for-10, 80 yards) busted into the end zone on a one-yard push to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with nine minutes left in the first quarter. The Hilltoppers responded immediately when Nick Burrello (16 carries, 145 yards) raced 80 yards to tie the score at 7-7.
Lyons junior running back Jaime Jones (23 carries, 160 yards) dominated the rest of the first half, scoring on runs of 65 yards and two yards to carry the Lions into halftime with a 21-7 advantage.
“It started for us offensively up front where our [offensive] line played very well,” LT coach Kurt Weinberg said. “Jaime was great and Brian managed the game well. I thought we played really well on both sides of the ball. This was a huge win for us against an excellent team on its home field.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Beau Warden drew Glenbard West within 21-13 when he scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 9:10 left in the game. The Lions put the hard-fought contest out of reach in the closing minutes courtesy of Mike Pett’s 20-yard field goal and Jones’ six-yard touchdown run to close the scoring at 31-13.
“Everyone was fired up for this game,” Jones said. “Everyone wanted this game, almost really since the first day of the season. Glenbard West is definitely the best team we have faced so far, but we just had to pull it out.”
Weinberg is looking forward to the unfamiliar challenge of facing Chicago Vocational on Friday.
“Vocational is very athletic and has some big boys up front,” he said. “I think that is why the playoffs are fun because you get to play some teams you normally don’t see [during the regular season].”
If the favored Lions knock out Vocational, LT’s second-round matchup will be against the winner of Sandburg and [conference foe] Proviso West.
“I’ve felt all season that our conference is one of the best in the state,” Weinberg said. “The teams we have in the playoffs – Glenbard West, York, Proviso West and LT – are all capable of winning playoff games and making a deep run.”