By Oskar LaRue
The Lyons Lions high school football team continued their undefeated season last Saturday in Littleton, as they fought back from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter to beat the very tough Front Range Christian Falcons 14-13.
The Falcons scored on their first possession, marching methodically down the field in nine plays, and generally keeping the Lions on their heels. The Lyons
defense woke up a little in the red zone, just long enough to slap the snooze button as the Falcons scored and kicked the extra point anyway, for a seven to nothing lead. When the Lions offense took the field, (which, as you all know by now, is pretty much the same guys who play defense) it was obvious that they were still unnerved at how this game was unfolding, because they went three-and-out.
The Falcons offense started at their own thirty-yard line following the punt, and once again, in nine plays, they marched down the field and scored, this time on a twenty-five yard run around the left side. The Lions’ defense looked lethargic, as if they slapped the snooze button yet again. The Lions’ faithful followers in the bleachers were bewildered to say the least. One can only imagine what was going through Lyons Coach Brandon Wilkes’ head as he witnessed the early dismantling of his team. As the Falcons lined up to kick the extra point, it looked like it was going to be a loooong day for our slumbering Lions. They needed something good to happen, just a little break, any thing to get them out of this funk they were in. And lo and behold, the Falcons’ extra point kick was no good.
Although the score was thirteen to zip, something good finally happened for the Lions, even if it was just a measly, little, insignificant missed extra point. The uplifting moment was short-lived, however, because when the Lions got the ball back, senior quarterback/linebacker Logan Watson was intercepted on the third play from scrimmage. The first quarter ended and the second quarter started with the Falcons driving again; an all too familiar pattern.
It was in the second quarter where the ice cream started to turn to manure for the Falcons. Two costly penalties stalled their drive, and the Lions’ defense was playing better now, making better tackles, getting into the backfield and pressuring the passer, and generally looking like the defense we remember from weeks past. The Falcons’ drive ended on the Lions fifteen-yard line when senior all-purpose player Trent Poulsen broke up a fourth-down pass over the middle on the five yard line. The defense was now awake, outta bed, and smellin’ the bacon.
When the Lions’ offense took over at their own fifteen, they put together a decent drive for the first time in the game, only to be turned back on an unsuccessful fourth-and-short run by Watson on the Falcon’s 31-yard line. But the offense looked like they were starting to move the ball well on the ground, usually Watson bulling his way up the middle or Poulsen sweeping around the end. The hosses on the line were making their blocks. Everybody’s outta bed now. This could get interesting.
The Falcons went three-and-out on their next possession. Sophomore linemen John Hickman, Gaspar Vasquez, and Kanyon Raper along with junior linebackers Bowe Herman and Hector Rodriguez seemed to be gang-tackling on every play. Mighty-Mo was changing sides.
When the offense took over, Coach Wilkes reached up his sleeve and pulled out three consecutive pass plays, much to the obvious surprise of his counterpart across the field, who had seen mostly running plays from the Lions so far. The play-by-play sounded something like this:
“And it’s first down for the Lions, Watson’s in the shotgun, there’s the snap, the blitz is on from the left side, Watson holds his ground, delivers a perfect sideline strike to Poulsen for twenty-five yards as Watson is driven into the ground by the blitzing linebacker. But he‘s getting up; tough kid, that Watson. First down again, Watson back in the shotgun, the rush is on, he tosses it low and wide to the running back Kanyon Raper, who catches the ball anyway with a great shoestring catch, for a gain of six yards, down to the Falcon’s 35. Second and four, Watson in the gun, there’s the snap, here comes heavy pressure on both sides, Watson stands in there, he’s looking long, he heaves it downfield for all he’s worth just as he’s sandwiched between two would-be sackers. AND MEYERS CAUGHT IT! HOLY COW ! NUMBER 14 AUSTIN MEYERS, A JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER, MADE A BEAUTIFUL, OVER-THE-SHOULDER CATCH IN THE END ZONE! UNBELIEVABLE! WHAT A PLAY !” (Editor’s note: capital letters denote unbridled enthusiasm on the part of the play-by-play announcer.)
After Poulsen’s PAT, the score was 13-7 in favor of the Falcons. But the tide was turning, and everybody in Littleton knew it. The Falcon’s next possession ended up with a beautiful interception of a tipped pass by Lyons’senior co-captain and linebacker Preston Medina, who has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. Medina’s pick was just before halftime, and ended yet another march down the field by the Falcons.
The Lions’ offense got the ball first in the third quarter, and they almost went three-and-out. On fourth and long from their own twenty-seven, punter Poulsen tossed a little floater to Myers, who then ran it for a drive-saving first down. On the subsequent third down and ten, Watson took it himself around the right side, stiff-arming a would be tackler and gaining seventeen, and another first down. On the very next play, Watson fired a pass over the middle intended for Poulsen. Poulsen’s defender stepped in front of him and had a sure-fire interception, except he couldn’t handle the speed of the pass and ended up tipping the ball straight up in the air and into the hands of the surprised Poulsen, who raced into the end zone to complete the thirty-yard pass play. Poulsen’s kick made it 14-13 Lyons, with still a quarter to go.
The two teams battled to a draw in the fourth quarter. The Lyons defense stopped two fourth down attempts by the Falcons, and ultimately it was the outstanding defense that once again made the difference in the game. Congratulations on well-fought, well-deserved win. The undefeated Lions (4-0) play at Nederland Saturday, October 5. Good luck!