By Gary Gorman
The Lyons football team hosted one of their archrivals Friday night as the Yuma Indians came to town. The Lions haven’t been able to knock off the Indians since the two teams started playing each other on a regular basis in 2008.
The game was a defensive struggle right from the outset, and Lyons set the tone early by stopping Yuma on their first drive and forcing them to punt. The Indians would return the favor, and after a Lions punt, Yuma charged down the field to the Lions 15 yard line before fumbling the ball back to the home team. Not able to take advantage of this gift, the Lyons drive stalled and they were forced to punt. Once again the stout Lion defense was up to the task, and shut down the Yuma offense. This time, on the ensuing punt, Levi Campbell broke through the line and got a hand on the kick, causing the punt to only go seven yards. This put the ball on the Yuma 45-yard line, and this time the Lions capitalized big time. On the very next play Lyons quarterback Jordan Melani blasted up the middle darting his way to the goal line for a 45-yard score. After Forrest Donnell kicked the extra point the Lions were up 7-0. The defensive battle would continue throughout the second quarter with neither team being able to move the ball, and the Lions trudged into the locker room with a 7-0 halftime lead.
The Lions took the second half kick-off, and started moving the ball down the field. Running back Anthony Triffet broke loose for a terrific 44-yard run, down to the Yuma 10 yard line, but it was not to be, a holding penalty brought the ball back and the Lions would have to punt. And so it would go for nearly all of the third quarter, punt after punt. Then the bottom dropped out for the Lions. With the clock winding down and within the shadow of their own goal post, Lyons fumbled the ball away, which four plays later, led to a one-yard touchdown by Yuma’s Justin Koenig. This made the score seven to seven heading into the fourth quarter.
After another punt by Lyons, the Indians pushed the ball all the way down to the Lions seven-yard line before fumbling the pigskin away yet again. The Lions, behind the rushing of quarterback Melani and running backs Triffet and Jayse Long, ground up the yards and the clock and forced their way to the Yuma 12-yard line before the Indian defense tightened and the drive stalled with ten seconds remaining on the clock. This put the game in the hands (or rather on the foot) of the Lions’ “money” kicker, Forrest Donnell. Uncharacteristically, the strong-legged kicker squibbed it low and left, sending the game into overtime.
Each team gets the ball, and a chance to score in overtime. The Indians got first crack, but the Lions were up to the task, stopping Yuma cold. Coach John Nichols, eager to give Donnell another crack at winning the game, and confident he would come through, elected to have Donnell kick on third down. This time, Donnell drilled the ball through the uprights, and lifted his teammates to a hard fought 10 to 7 overtime win.
The Lions offense was led by quarterback Jordon Melani with 20 carries for 101 yards, and Melani also led the defense with seven tackles. Levi Campbell had another strong night putting pressure on the Yuma punter all game, and Billy Housley had a strong night on defense. The Lions travel to Highland for their net game.