Lions gain momentum in WSC opener

Backup QB Viliunas shines, leads team to victory

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By MARTY FARMER

LT 20
Hinsdale S. 7

Lyons Township had been searching for playmakers and its first win on the young football season. The team found both Saturday night in Darien with an impressive 20-7 road win over Hinsdale South.

Playmakers like quarterback Eddie Viliunas, who ignited the Lions' sputtering offense with three scoring drives, running back Lucas Gacek (10 carries, 74 yards rushing) and cornerbacks Billy Doyle and Alex Sewall (each had an interception), helped Lyons score 20 unanswered points en route to the West Suburban Conference crossover win.

On the third play of the game, Hinsdale South running back Daniel Hopp raced 59 yards off the right side for a touchdown to stake the Hornets to a 7-0 lead.

"Our players scared the heck out of me the first three plays of the game," Lyons coach Jack Derning said. "Then, our defense started playing with confidence, flying around and reading their keys. They played football the way they have been coached."

Lyons (1-1) was held scoreless in its first four offensive possessions, gaining only two first downs and committing two turnovers.

Midway through the second quarter, Viliunas made his varsity debut when he replaced Lyons quarterback Beau Spreck. A 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound junior with great athleticism, he led the Lions on an efficient five-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Viliunas (12 carries, 69 yards) tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Casey McMurray (2 catches, 31 yards) to pull the Lions closer, trailing 7-6 with 3:36 until the half.

"Eddie made a couple mistakes in play calling but that's understandable," Derning said. "He runs very hard and throws the ball pretty well. I think he's going to be a good one. I've said all along that Beau and Eddie could battle it out. They both have attributes that can help this team."

The Lions seized control of the game when Gacek scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:08 left in the third quarter. McMurray ran in the 2-point conversion off left tackle to give the Lions a 14-7 lead.

"One of our goals is to make the playoffs so this is a good first step for us," Viliunas said. "It's an exciting time of the season. We need four more wins so we're going to do the best we can."

Hinsdale South (0-2) threatened twice in the second half but could not find the end zone. In the third quarter, Sewall picked off a pass by Hornets quarterback John Swidergal inside the Lions' 10. Hinsdale South also failed on a fourth-and-five situation on the Lyons 27 with eight minutes left in the game.

Mike Dambra (sack), Bobby Olszewski (fumble recovery), Mark Nolan, Les Bates and Kyle Barrett chipped in defensively for Lyons .

Momentum on their side, the Lions added one more score on a 77-yard march late in the fourth quarter. Viliunas capped off the series with a 20-yard touchdown run.

"We've been stepping it up in practice every day just working harder and listening to the coaches," Sewall said. "We came out and made some big plays. This win helps us get ready for next week."

The Lions open Silver Division play at Oak Park (1-1) Saturday (1:30 p.m.).

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