Lyons Township    34  OT
Glenbrook South   31

Two games into the IHSA football playoffs, the Lyons Township football team has proven no lead against them is safe for an opponent. After rallying from 25 points down for an improbable road win against Bartlett in the opening round of the Class 8A playoffs, the Lions stormed back again on Saturday, this time from a two-touchdown third-quarter deficit to claim a 34-31 overtime victory against visiting Glenbrook South.

The stirring comeback by LT (7-4) capped off an emotional week for the school and surrounding communities, who mourned the death of Kelli O’Laughlin, a 14-year-old freshman killed in her home during an attempted robbery on Oct. 27.

“This win is for Kelli O’Laughlin,” said LT running back Jaime Jones, who attended her funeral along with four other football captains representing the team. “This [victory] means so much to us especially after going to the service.”

The LT coaches and players wore K.O. stickers to honor the memory of O’Laughlin.

Billed as one of the premier running backs in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference this year, an inspired Jones certainly has upped his game in the postseason. Jones scored five touchdowns against Glenbrook South, including the game-winner on a 10-yard scamper from 10 yards out, on the Lions’ first play of overtime. Jones rushed for 175 yards on 25 carries against the Titans, and has already amassed 305 rushing yards in the playoffs.

Glenbrook South (8-3) appeared in control after Kevin Schroeder scored on a seven-yard run and Sully Stadler returned a punt 13 yards for another touchdown, lifting GBS to a 28-14 lead in the third quarter. Led by excellent work from the Lions’ offensive line, Jones brought LT back when he scored on a 21-yard run late in the third to whittle the deficit to 28-21. He scored the game-tying touchdown to make it 28-28 on a five-yard run with 1:40 left in regulation.

Prior to Jones’ overtime heroics, LT kicker Jake Elliott attempted his third game-winning field goal this season to end regulation, but the 55-yard attempt was no good.

Branden McGarritty nailed a 21-yard field goal in OT to give Glenbrook South a 34-31 lead before Jones ended the game with his 10-yard touchdown run.

In the first quarter, the Lions scored on their opening possession when Jones capped off the drive on a 27-yard run at the 9:35 mark. After the Titans tied the game at 7-7, Jones struck again on a four-run burst to give LT a 14-7 advantage midway through the second quarter.

Other offensive stars for the Lions included junior quarterback Zachary Mahoney (16-for-26, 185 yards) and versatile weapon Matthew Harris (9 catches, 95 yards), who is utilized as a wideout, running back, kick returner and “wildcat” quarterback by the Lions.

LT coach Kurt Weinberg was pleased with the win amid trying circumstances.

“It’s been a touching week for everybody around the [LT] community,” he said. “This doesn’t do a whole lot, but it does do something positive for the community during a really hard time.”

Quarterback Mac Zabriskie (13-for-25, 175 yards) and Schroeder (27 carries, 110 yards) paced the Titans offensively.

The 13th-seeded Lions advance to the Class 8A quarterfinals for the second straight year where they will travel to top-seeded Loyola (11-0) on Saturday (Noon). The Ramblers, who rolled to a 29-0 second-round win over Dunbar, feature star quarterback Malcolm Weaver, scoring threats Marquese Martin-Hayes, Peter Pujals and Willie Pavilos, along with Loyola head coach/ex-NFL player John Holecek.

“Loyola is a very well-coached team with a ton of weapons,” Weinberg said. “It’s a big challenge that we’re really looking forward to taking on.”