Sophomore Ryan Jackson was one of three quarterbacks for Lyons during its 35-3 loss to Glenbard West. Photo by Steve Metsch
High School Football: Glenbard West, Pope roll over Lyons
By Steve Metsch
Lyons will visit Downers Grove North this week for the regular-season finale, in need of a victory to become eligible for the IHSA playoffs.
Joey Antonietti understands how the Lions have to approach the must-win situation.
“We’ve got a playoff game,” the senior quarterback said after the Lions lost, 35-3, at home to Glenbard West on Oct. 15. “It’s win or go home the rest of the season. We have to prepare like it’s a playoff game and keep fighting.”
The defeat has forced Lyons (4-4, 2-3 West Suburban Silver) into elimination-game mode a week early. Five victories is the threshold teams must reach to be considered for one of 32 spots in each of the IHSA’s eight playoff classes.
The possibility exists that a handful of four-win teams can break into the 256-team field, but no team is counting on that happening. In most seasons, five wins do not guarantee a playoff berth.
Glenbard West (7-1, 4-1) played its best football of the season in the second half, said Hilltoppers coach Chad Hetlet.
“Our offensive line dominated in the second half and Joey (Pope) made the most of what he had, as did (quarterback) Korey (Tai),” Hetlet said. “They are explosive kids. … Our defense played really well.”
The Hilltoppers’ stingy defense never let Lyons near the end zone in the second half. Pope, a junior running back, scored three touchdowns. Tai added one.
Pope’s first touchdown was a 42-yard run 36 seconds into the game.
His second was a dazzling 35-yard run that saw him evade the grasp of two defenders with 7:41 left in the third.
His third came two minutes later on a 43-scoring pass from Tai.
“I had three touchdowns a couple other times this year,” Pope said. “It’s more about the team. It’s nice to have a dominating win against a good team like LT. It’s a good feeling for our team.”
Lyons coach Jon Beutjer said the Lions “were right there,” trailing 7-3 at halftime.
The turning point was an interception by senior defensive back Egan Foley of Lyons quarterback Aidan Sullivan on a
pass intended for Cullen McManaman near the Glenbard West 45 yard line with 8:56 let in the third.
Foley returned the ball to Lyons’ 43-yard line. Two plays later, Pope scored for a 14-3 lead.
“They got some momentum there,” Beutjer said. “But I’m really proud of our kids because they kept fighting.
They were playing the right way.”
Tai scored on a 26-yard run for a 28-3 lead with 20.4 seconds left in the third. Jack Oberhofer closed the scoring with 9:30 left in the fourth.
Lyons’ attack had a new twist as Antonietti, senior Sullivan and sophomore Ryan Jackson all played quarterback.
The idea is to get the ball in the hands of the “electric” Antonietti more often as a running back and receiver, Beutjer said.
“Aidan Sullivan did a nice job tonight and we have a really special sophomore in Ryan Jackson,’ Beutjer said.
Junior kicker David Waight accounted for Lyons’ points with his 25-yard field goal in the first quarter.