Lisle comes up short

PEOTONE - Lisle's Demetrius King Jr. came within a flying yellow flag of a rare hat trick of touchdown returns Friday night in Peotone.

But after a penalty flag wiped out what would have been an 83-yard kickoff return, the Lions senior speed-burner had to settle for only two touchdown returns - a punt return and a fumble return.

Even worse, Lisle (4-4, 2-4 Illinois Central Eight Conference) needed that third touchdown and ended up losing 14-12 against the Blue Devils (6-2, 4-2). Now Lisle needs to win next week in order to keep alive hopes of making the state playoffs. Lisle hosts Streator in Week 9.

"It was a tough loss, but we can still make the playoffs. We just need to win next week," said King, whose 89-yard punt return provided all the scoring in the first half as Lisle led the playoff-bound Blue Devils 6-0 at halftime.

But the second half provided more big plays than the first, including King's second touchdown of the night, a 28-yard return of a Peotone fumble that pulled the visitors to within 14-12 with 4:40 remaining. Junior running back Brett Weber, who gained 113 yards on 25 tough carries on the night, was stopped just short on his 2-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game.

While Lisle's defense was stout all night long, the Lions were eventually done in by three fumbles and an interception at the goal line, along with the holding penalty that erased King's dazzling kickoff return.

The punt return at the end of the first quarter, however, did stand up, and it was a thing of beauty. King eluded a few Blue Devils and then tiptoed just inside the right sideline.

"I looked and I saw I had a hole and I took off," he said. "I turned on the burners and I ran as fast as I can."

Peotone, which had just 71 yards of offense in the first half, took a 14-6 lead in the third quarter after quarterback Max Gesswein ran three times for 46 yards to set the stage for a 2-yard touchdown run by Sam Biedon. The 7-6 lead grew to 14-6 after Andrea Protti scooped up a Lisle fumble and returned it 47 yards for a score.

"We just made a lot of mental lapses so we need to work out the kinks," said King, "and we need to come back strong next week."

Lisle coach Paul Parpet Sr. was disappointed in yet another tough loss this season, but he had no complaints about the defensive effort.

"We let them make a couple big plays in the second half, but overall our defense played exceptional tonight," Parpet said.

Blue Devils coach Apostolos Tsiamas also had no qualms about his team's defense, which forced four turnovers and made the Lions earn every yard they got.

"Hats off to our defense," he said. "They didn't score on our defense tonight. We have six wins so we're in the playoffs but we're not satisfied yet."

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