After suffering a broken collar bone July 20, Lyons Township High School junior Jack Grigus was especially eager for his football season debut Saturday at Proviso West.
“I wanted to make a statement and I think I did that,” Grigus said.
Grigus couldn’t stop smiling about his 75-yard interception return for a touchdown with 11:46 remaining as the final score in the Lions’ 49-0 West Suburban Conference Silver victory.
Grigus also played offense, returning the opening kickoff and making a 9-yard reception. At safety, Grigus made the big-play interception with a bent arm next to the receiver before quite an impressive return.
“One of my first years starting on defense, so I wanted to prove to my teammates that I’m back,” Grigus said.
“I’m still happy right now. I broke two tackles and kept running. I had the mindset ‘refuse to lose’ when I got the ball and I think did that.”
Ryan Jackson passed for 183 yards and five touchdowns for the Lions (3-2, 2-1 in Silver). Jackson (857 passing yards, 10 TDs this season) connected with Caleb Greer (5 yards), Tucker King (50 yards), Travis Stamm twice (52 and 9 yards) and Mack Long (8 yards). Teryn Hatter added a 7-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Only Stamm (3 catches, 66 yards) and Greer previously had scored on varsity. Dylan Rickman (7 carries, 120 yards) and King (2 catches, 74 yards) also contributed.
It was another big day for the starting offensive line of tackles Eddie Tuerk and Tyler Chambers, center Cooper Komsthoeft and guards Danny Zarco and James Hillman.
“All of the guys brought it today, first reps, second reps,” Zarco said. “We really just want to focus on escalating from here, just taking it step by step every day, making sure we’re doing everything right all together.”
Defensive tackle leaders were Long (6 tackles) and Patrick Cheney (five). Shane Harris had two tackles for loss and Noah Pfafflin, Danny Paulus and Danny Kienzle, one each. Jack Cheney also had an interception and Paulus a fumble recovery.
“[We emphasized] moving forward, discipline, doing their job and executing, pay attention to detail, the small things,” LTHS coach Jon Beutjer said. “We’ve moved on from [a mistake-heavy 13-10 loss at Glenbard West Sept. 16] and learned from that game. That’s what we’re going to keep hammering home. It’s about LT. It’s not about other teams. It’s about what we do and how we prepare and how disciplined we are.”