For the second straight season, Lyons Township’s hopes of a state football championship were emphatically derailed in the Class 8A quarterfinals. A year after Mount Carmel launched LT out the playoffs, the Lions were dealt a 33-10 loss at the hands of Loyola on Saturday.
Quarterback Malcolm Weaver (25-for-36, 345 yards) set the tone for Loyola, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns and running for another score as the Ramblers took a commanding 33-3 lead at halftime.
Lyons (7-5) hung around early after Jake Elliot’s 30-yard field goal pulled the team to within 6-3 midway through the opening quarter. However, the Ramblers’ penchant for big plays offensively, not only from Weaver but other Loyola scoring threats, proved to be much.
Willie Pavilos rushed 12 times for 124 yards, highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown run in the first half, and wideout Charlie Dowdle had 11 catches for 190 yards for Loyola. On the Ramblers’ first offensive series, Weaver connected with Dowdle on a 60-yard scoring strike to put Loyola up 6-0.
Conversely, LT was held in check offensively as star running back Jamie Jones managed just 30 yards on 10 carries. Junior wide receiver/returner Matthew Harris starred for LT with seven catches for 140 yards.
Quarterback Zach Mahoney (175 passing yards) tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Evan Booth in the closing minutes of the game to make the final score 33-10.
Loyola (12-0) advances to a state semifinal meeting with Glenbard North.
Despite the lopsided loss ending their season, the Lions enjoyed another solid season under the leadership of coach Kurt Weinberg. After a 2-3 start to their season, which reached a low point in Week 5 during a 33-10 loss at rival Hinsdale Central, the Lyons responded by winning five of their next seven games en route to their repeat trip to the Class 8A quarterfinals.
Highlights during the Lions’ push for the playoffs included junior kicker Jake Elliott, who made long field goals as time expired in consecutive weeks to knock off Oak Park and York, along with the Lions’ rousing comeback victories in the playoffs over Bartlett and Glenbrook South.
Looking ahead to next season, the Lions lose key players like Jones, Booth, Rennick Thompson, Will Konstant, Mike Thomas and Corey Jefco to graduation; however, plenty of talent also returns with Harris, Mahoney, Elliot, Connor Onion, Jamari Burks, Billy Cramsie and Jimmy Mitchell.