Proviso West 41
Coming off consecutive conference wins in the closing seconds via a pair of clutch field goals by Jake Elliot, the Lyons Township football team turned in a surprisingly flat performance against Proviso West during Friday’s Senior Night at Bennett Field.
The Panthers scored the first 21 points of the game en route to a comfortable 41-14 victory over the Lions.
With postseason eligibility at stake this week against Leyden, LT (4-4, 3-3 West Suburban Silver) will need to regroup quickly especially after its lackluster showing against Proviso West.
“We just laid a gigantic emotional egg,” LT coach Kurt Weinberg said. “Not to take anything away from Proviso West, but we weren’t even here [tonight]. I really don’t understand the lack of emotion. I thought we turned a corner last week after playing with so much energy and passion against York.”
On the fourth play of Friday’s game, LT fumbled the ball, which was scooped up and returned 50 yards for a touchdown by the Panthers’ Ishmeal Akui. Proviso West (4-4, 2-3) tacked on a pair of scores when quarterback Quincy Cole ran into the end zone from two yards out and threw a 66-yard pass to Craig Lottie to give Proviso West a 21-0 halftime lead.
Lyons struggled offensively the entire game. After starting quarterback Connor Onion threw an interception late in the second quarter, backup Zach Mahoney played the rest of the way.
The Lions appeared back in the game when Matthew Harris blocked a punt and teammate Mike Thomas returned it 25 yards for a touchdown closing the gap to 21-7 at the 8:58 mark of the third quarter. The Panthers responded with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped off by Cole’s spectacular 42-yard scamper to pay-dirt.
“Late in the game, [Cole] just sifted his way through everybody,” Weinberg said, “I thought we did a good job defensively on the line of scrimmage early on, but overall Proviso West kicked our butts.”
Late in the third quarter, the opportunistic Thomas struck again for LT recovering a Panthers’ fumble at the Proviso West 10. Three plays later, running back Jamie Jones scored on a 4-yard run to pull the Lions to within 27-14.
Cole propelled Proviso West to 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter on his 18-yard touchdown run and a 46-yard scoring pass to Demtrius Streeter. The Panthers’ versatile signal-caller accounted for five touchdowns – three rushing, two passing – and over 280 yards of total offense.
“I don’t know what happened because I felt we had a great week of practice,” said LT senior linebacker Robert Mitchell, who intercepted a Cole pass in the fourth quarter. “Proviso [West] took it to us early and we never really bounced back. We have to get back to the basics and correct our mistakes.”
LT visits Leyden (2-5) this Friday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.