Cheney's 4 TDs power Lyons past Buffalo Grove

Lyons Township running back Jack Cheney had a productive freshman season on the varsity football team but missed last season with an injury.

"There was a lot of hunger tonight," said the 5-foot-10 junior. "After missing last season, I wanted to come back and show what we could do."

Cheney's menu was sure full in the Lions' season-opening 38-35 nonconference triumph at Buffalo Grove's Grant Blaney Stadium on Friday night.

He rambled for a career-high 230 yards on 33 carries and scored 4 touchdowns (three 5-yard runs and one for seven) as the visitors rallied from a 21-17 halftime deficit to edge the Bison.

Cheney's final score put his team ahead 38-28 with 7:23 left. However, like it did all night, Buffalo Grove answered with Payton Diaz' 18-yard TD pass to Jakub Niedojdlo to make it 38-35 with 4:34 left.

Lyons' 6-foot-5 senior Graham Smith recovered the Bison's onside kick at the Lions' 49-yard line. Lyons proceeded to drive to BG's 4 yard- line before taking a knee in the final minute to seal the win.

"Obviously, Jack's yards are a testament to our offensive line (Kevin Cruz, Aidan Hallett, Eddie Tuerk, Mikey Nunez and Cooper Komsthoeft)," said third-year Lyons coach Jon Beutjer.

"They brought it today. Our offensive line coach and running game coordinator (coaches Brennan Quick and Kyle Simms) do a great job. We kind of want to set the precedent early in the season that we can run and we can throw and be physical. I was really proud of the offensive line and with Jack. He ran with heart."

Lyons went 81 yards on the game's opening drive to take a 7-0 lead when Cheney took it in from 7 yards out. The Bison came back with their own 80-yard drive to tie it at 7-7 when Anthony Palano grabbed a 9-yard pass from quarterback Payton Diaz (21-25, 339 yards) with 3:35 left.

David Waight's 38-field-goal gave the visitors a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter but BG answered in two plays, including Diaz' 70-yard TD bomb to Samuel Cho.

After a three-and-out by the BG defense, the Bison came back for its third TD of the game.

With Ryan Reid, CJ Relias, Brody Mac, John Saracco and Anthony Perricone providing the protection, Diaz competed 3 straight passes before a 2-yard TD run by Michael Cervantes made it 21-10.

The Lions answered with a 65-yard drive to get within 21-17 before half. QB Ryan Jackson (17 for 20, 230 yards) completed two passes to Travis Stamm (6-105) and one to Smith before Cheney scored on a 5-yard run with 1:06 left.

Cheney's 5-yard TD run gave Lyons the lead for good at the start of the second half. Stamm's 30-yard TD catch extended the advantage to 31-21 lead before Diaz connected on a 35-yard pass to Mitchell Verdico (4-111) to get BG to within 31-28.

"I'm really proud of our guys," said Bison coach Jeff Vlk. "We were really only one step away. We had the ball on the ground a few times and it just didn't bounce our way. Our kids competed. They fought to the very end. You can look at their size and the difference from our size. But our kids didn't back down. That's what I love about this team. At the end, I think their size wore on us a little and they beat us up. But we threw everything we had at them. I told the kids to hold their heads high and come back ready to play and compete next week."

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