Senior captains Joey Antonietti, Owen Cherry and John Tobin were determined to get the Lyons Township High School football team into the state playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Antonietti, a returning All-West Suburban Conference Silver Division quarterback, also began playing running back and receiver in Week 6.
“[Lions coach Jon Beutjer] wanted to try some new things,” Antonietti said. “Right now it’s working so we’re going to keep doing it going into the playoffs.”
With those playoff hopes on the line Friday, Antonietti scored second-half touchdowns as a receiver and running back as the Lions won 21-14 at Downers Grove North.
LTHS (5-4) visits Lockport (8-1) in IHSA Class 8A playoff action at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I’ve been playing with these guys since freshman year, so it’s awesome to make it to the playoffs,” Antonietti said. “This year, a big part of some of our losses have been on us. We’ve just got to play our game.”
Lockport was the Southwest Suburban Blue co-champion and the Porters have allowed just 60 points. Lockport lost 12-10 to Lincoln-Way East (7-2) on Oct. 15 but has scored in the 40s five times.
“We’ve played some really good football teams, which I feel prepares us for the playoffs,” Beutjer said Friday. “I’m just so happy for our kids and the program.”
Antonietti scored on a 14-yard run and 14-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan Jackson, who also threw a 31-yard second-quarter touchdown pass to Colin Grace. That drive covered 99 yards following Cherry’s interception in front of the goal line.
Downers North (4-5) closed to 21-14 with 6:44 left, but LTHS then ran out the clock.
“To come out and be able to put two good halves together and really come together at the right time, it feels great,” Cherry said.