Lyons ends Stevenson's season

After winning its last five games, No. 12-seeded Stevenson wanted to keep that momentum going Friday night in its IHSA Class 8A football opener against No. 21 Lyons.

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end as the Lions were just too much for the Patriots to handle in an impressive 31-6 victory in the first round of the state playoffs.

Lyons (7-3) hosts the winner of Saturday's game between No. 8 York against No. 28 Homewood-Flossmoor next weekend while Stevenson closed out the season at 7-3.

The Lions held a 14-6 lead at halftime, but they came out strong in the third quarter as Jack Cheney blocked a punt deep in Patriots territory. Teammate Noah Pfafflin recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchdown and a 21-6 lead 3:10 into the second half.

Stevenson struggled offensively against Lyons' defense throughout the contest. A pass by quarterback Aidan Crawley (8-for-18, 53 yards) was tipped up in the air and intercepted by Cheney near midfield.

Five plays later, Lyons quarterback Ryan Jackson (13-for-19, 173 yards) hit Travis Stamm breaking down the left sideline for a 33-yard TD pass and a 28-6 lead with 5:15 left in the third quarter. Jackson also had 60 yards rushing on 9 carries.

"They're a really good football team, and you know we didn't play our best," said Stevenson coach Brent Becker. "A lot of credit to them and their staff. We knew their defense was solid when we were scouting them. They're pretty senior-dominated on defense, and they've got some great players that are going both ways."

Lyons kicker Tommy Newcomb booted a 30-yard field goal with 5:16 to play to close out the scoring.

The Lions took an early 7-0 lead on Jack McQueeney's 3-yard TD run. The Pats cut the lead to 7-6 when Crawley hit Zach Becker with a 25-yard TD pass. But Lyons' Kellen Knop blocked the extra point to keep the score at 7-6. Jackson scored on a 1-yard keeper with 40 seconds left in the first half to boost the lead to 14-6.

"My O-line did a great job. They helped me out obviously, our receivers got open for me, and all I had to do was execute my job," said Jackson. "Special teams stepped up as well. That was maybe our second special teams touchdown of the season, and it happened at the best point we could ask for."

Stevenson's Frank Costabile had 42 yards rushing on 11 carries while McQueeney had 35 yards on 11 rushes. Stevenson's Christopher Thorndyke had 28 yards on 6 attempts.

"I was just impressed with how our guys came out and played hard, played physical, and executed," said Lyons coach Jon Beutjer. "Obviously too we've got a special quarterback who can throw it, he can run, and he's dangerous. He's very accurate. This is his third time in the playoffs. He led us to the quarterfinals last year, and he took the team on his back tonight."

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