Lyons’ Joseph Antonetti, with the football, gets mobbed by his teammates during 7-on-7 drills against Wheaton-Warrenville South Thursday. The quarterback had made an interception on defense to cause the celebration. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Seven-on-sevens up and running: Lyons hosts scrimmages featuring Marist, York and WW South
By Jeff Vorva
Lyons quarterback Joseph Antonetti and Marist signal-caller Dontrell Jackson both found comfort and normalcy in 7-on-7 scrimmages held July 1 at the Lions’ home field in Western Springs.
After summer’s scrimmage across the state were wiped out by COVID-19 in 2020 and the fall season was reduced to six weeks played in the spring, the get-together featuring Marist, Lyons, York and Wheaton-Warrenville South may not mean much when it comes to what will happen in the fall. But it made coaches and players feel good about where things stand now.
“It feels a lot better,” Antonetti said. “It’s a lot of fun.
Sure, he had fun. Antonetti was the starting quarterback in the spring and on Thursday was able to play some defense. After nabbing a pass from a Wheaton-Warrenville quarterback he was mobbed by his teammates.
“It felt good,” he said of the pick. “I’m just trying to make a play. I want to be a playmaker.”
Marist’s Jackson was a playmaker both passing and running during a spring in which he helped lead the RedHawks to a 4-2 campaign.
It was a strange season in which there was no postseason, but the senior QB and the RedHawks tried to make the most of it.
“At first it didn’t seem like a real season — it was hard transitioning,” he said. “But the first week we came out there with our hair on fire and we were energetic. We were hungry. We wanted to get what we could. We would take what they gave us.”
The Coastal Carolina recruit is confident the RedHawks will have a big season in the fall.
“We have a great team and we come to practice every day to work,” Jackson said. “We are ready to come and do extra work every time. That right there is going to take us a long way.”
Lyons would like to return to a winning season for the first time since 2017. The Lions were 1-8 in 2018, 4-5 in 2019 and 2-2 with two games canceled because of COVID in the spring.
Jon Beutjer, who while playing for Wheaton-Warrenville South in 1998 threw for a then-national record 60 touchdowns, became the third coach in as many seasons at Lyons.
“The spring was very challenging,” the coach said. “But the kids were resilient and positive.
“We were thankful to get four games in. If you would have told me in January or February that we would play in the spring, I would have said, ‘no way.’ ’’
While the 7-on-7 games are played without linemen, tackling is forbidden and no score is kept, they are a valuable tool for Beutjer.
“We have a lot of young guys, and we are trying to teach them our schemes,” he said. “We try to evaluate our players. Summer is all about learning. It’s learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, and we get them in different positions and we want to find out who our competitors are and who will make plays for us.”
For those looking ahead, Lyons opens the season at home against New Trier on Aug. 27, the same night Marist hosts Curie.
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