Junior wide receiver Travis Stamm had his biggest game so far for the Lyons Township High School football team Friday.
One big reason? Another huge game from senior quarterback Ryan Jackson.
“It’s wonderful. He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever played with,” Stamm said. “Such a dual threat. He’s a team guy but he can run the ball. He can throw the ball. He’s smart. He does what he needs to do to win.”
Stamm had a personal-best three touchdown receptions as the Lions rolled past rival Hinsdale Central 42-17 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division opener in front of a packed Whiteout home crowd in Western Springs.
“We wanted to come out here as a team and show them what we’ve got,” Stamm said. “We just wanted to make a statement, honestly, and show everyone in the West Suburban Conference how we’re coming all year. We’re here for real. We want it.”
LTHS (2-1) beat the Red Devils (0-3) for the second straight season and visits Glenbard West (1-2) Saturday.
On the Lions’ opening possession, the 6-foot-2 Stamm managed to stay in bounds after leaping to catch a corner end-zone toss for a 5-yard TD.
Stamm added 34- and 10-yard TD receptions and actually a fourth for 28 yards nullified by a penalty. He caught nine passes for 98 yards.
Last season, Stamm had 632 yards on 43 catches and 11 of Jackson’s single-season school-record 26 TD passes.
“I feels like I’ve definitely gotten better. I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve gotten faster. I’ve added weight,” Stamm said.
“I’ve got to give it up to everyone else. All week we worked so hard in practice. Ryan looked perfect, hitting me on all of his passes. The coaches with the perfect game plan. It all just came together.”
Jackson was 15-for-19, passing for 150 yards and his elusive scrambling earned two huge first-down conversions that extended TD drives.
Junior running back Danny Carroll gained 156 yards on 25 carries with 5- and 13-yard TD runs. Carroll gained 73 yards in the fourth quarter before senior Jack McQueeney scored the final TD on a 2-yard run.
“The focus the last two weeks was to just get better, work hard (since losing to Prospect). Our kids had a great week of practice, worked really hard, and it carried over to the game,” LTHS coach Jon Beutjer said.
Jackson’s scrambling in the second quarter saved the Lions on fourth-and-1 at the Red Devils’ 37. Jackson rolled right and was met by a defender but escaped. He reversed field all the way to the left sideline for 3 yards and the first down.
On the following play, he found Stamm wide open for a TD and a 21-7 lead.
“I watched a lot of (2012 Heisman Trophy quarterback) Johnny Manziel highlights and that kind of gave me motivation to do what he does and did my thing,” Jackson said.
When the Red Devils closed to 21-17 in the third quarter, the Lions scored on the ensuing possession.
Again, Jackson stepped up with a roll right, then left for 10 yards to the 36 on third-and-6. Carroll later scored from the 13. Stamm’s 10-yard TD catch with 11:21 left opened a 35-17 advantage.
“Ryan was laser focused all week. We were on the same page when we watched film on where we were going to attack,” said Beutjer, also the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
“Speaking of him as a veteran and senior, he was giving me ideas. He also had some really nice runs to extend plays, and also he made some beautiful throws.”
Defensively, Eddie Tuerk, Davey Paulus, Luke Wehling and Roman Sosnovyy combined for three sacks.
Sosnovyy and Jack Cheney had interceptions on the Red Devils’ final two possessions. Leading tacklers included McQueeney (5 tackles) and Tuerk (4 tackles, 3 for loss).
Stepping in as key defensive contributors were linebackers Paulus and Shane Harris, whose pressure contributed to the first pick.
Sophomore James Hillman joined the offensive line at left guard with center Cooper Komsthoeft, guard Danny Zarco and tackles Tyler Chambers and Tuerk.