Before the season started, if Lyons Township High School head coach Kurt Weinberg knew his football team would score 84 points over its first two games at home, he would take that proposition any day of the week. Two wins would seem virtually assured.
Despite an offense that’s averaging 42 points per game, however, the Lions surprisingly stand at 0-2 after Friday’s 62-49 loss to visiting Willowbrook. To say the LTHS defense has struggled early this season would be an understatement, considering the Lions have allowed 104 points over the first two games.
Not only have the Lions endured two frustrating losses at home, including their 42-35 triple-overtime loss against Warren (which LTHS led 21-0), but the Lions witnessed a state passing record eclipsed at its own expense.
Willowbrook quarterback Brian Johnson finished 40-for-52 with seven touchdowns and passed for 675 yards against the Lions, breaking the IHSA record for passing yardage in a single game. The former record was 590 yards set by former Rochester quarterback West Lunt in 2011.
Willowbrook wideout Hayden Adams wasn’t too shabby either, hauling in 15 catches for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Tied at 14 after one quarter Friday, Willowbrook outscored the Lions 28-14 in the second quarter thanks in large part to Johnson’s historic passing performance en route to a 42-28 halftime advantage.
LTHS whittled the Warriors’ lead to 49-42 after Matt Mrazek caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Fiedler with 8:57 left in the game, but the Warriors turned away the Lion with 13 unanswered points the rest of the way.
Fielder, who made his season debut after a one-game suspension, completed 19 of 43 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns. His primary target, Marcell Kellum, had seven catches for 107 yards.
Connor Pavletic (three catches for 82 yards, touchdown) and Mrazek (four catches for 29 yards, two touchdowns) also played well offensively for LTHS, which amassed 399 yards of total offense. Leonard Ross paced the Lions’ ground game with 130 yards on 19 carries.
LTHS visits Leyden on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a West Suburban Conference crossover. It’s a must-win game if the Lions hold any hope of earning a postseason berth, especially considering a loaded schedule with Glenbard West, Downers Grove North, Hinsdale Central and Oak Park over the next month follows the Leyden matchup.
Under Weinberg, the LTHS program had been on a roll with three straight Class 8A quarterfinal appearances.