It must have joyously felt like déjà vu for Lyons Township after kicker Jake Elliot made a 47-yard field goal as time ran out during the Lions’ 29-27 win over York on Friday.
After all, the previous week the suddenly clutch Elliot nailed a 52-yarder as time expired to lift the Lions past Oak Park 16-14. Lyons head coach Kurt Weinberg certainly sees the similarities in the victories with one notable distinction.
“I felt differently after this [29-27] win than the Oak Park game,” Weinberg said. “I felt like we deserved to win this one more whereas we made a lot of mistakes against Oak Park. It’s been a pretty amazing two weeks in a row.”
The host Dukes appeared primed for victory when quarterback Joe Lucca tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to David Byerley (8 catches, 95 yards), giving York a 27-26 lead with 42 seconds left in the game. The Dukes failed on a two-point conversion attempt which would prove costly.
After LT (4-3, 3-2) regained possession on its 28-yard line with 35 seconds remaining, quarterback Connor Onion (14-for-28, 170 yards) fired two completions for 17 and 18 yards to wideout Jamari Burks, setting the stage for Elliot. The junior, who was picked up by the Lions off the school’s tennis courts, calmly booted his third field goal on the night right through the uprights.
“Jake has made some huge kicks for us late in games,” Weinberg said, “but he’s also made important field goals during the course of these games. Jake has been very consistent. He’s a mentally tough kid.”
The Lions pulled out to a 17-7 advantage in the second quarter as Elliot kicked a 20-yard field goal and Matthew Harris scored a pair of touchdowns on a 6-yard reception and 7-yard run. Running back Jaime Jones, who had a 3-yard touchdown run, fueled the LT ground game with 135 yards rushing on 24 carries, while the speedy Harris rushed 13 times for 71 yards.
“I thought this was our best game [offensively] of the year,” Weinberg said. “We had good balance. Our offensive line did a great job and Jaime ran hard. Connor made some big plays and Matthew had a good game.”
Featuring their own explosive offense, the Dukes (5-2, 3-1) pulled to within 17-14 at the half after Lucca (20-for-38, 230 yards) threw a 47-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Preuss. Lucca scored on an 80-yard touchdown run to give York an early 7-0 lead.
“York has a lot of weapons,” Weinberg said. “I thought our defensive plan was great. Our coaches did a nice job giving [York] some different looks to disrupt their rhythm.”
The Lions picked off four passes, led by safety Will Konstant’s two interceptions.
On the verge of qualifying for the playoffs, LT hopes to earn its postseason berth at home Friday against Proviso West (3-4, 1-3).
“Proviso West is a very dangerous team,” Weinberg said. “They will be playing with a sense of desperation, so we’ll need to be ready to play.”