Lyons defense helps with scoring against Leyden to grab playoff berth
Lions QB Zachary Mahoney looks down field during the West Suburban Conference matchup between host Lyons Township and visiting Leyden Township Friday October 19, 2012 in Western Springs. | Scott Hardesty~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 23, 2012 3:48PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Lyons needed a win Friday night against Leyden to qualify for the playoffs, and it was clear from the start of the game the defensive unit got the message loud and clear.
The Lions (5-4) forced three turnovers in the first half, returning two of them for scores, as Lyons rolled to a 49-6 West Suburban crossover victory in Western Springs.
Matthew Harris picked off an Eagles pass attempt on the third play of the game, and Lyons converted it into a score when Zach Mahoney tossed a 9-yard TD pass to Harris less than three minutes later.
It was senior defensive back Connor Onion’s turn on the next possession, as he picked off another Eagle pass attempt and returned it 85 yards for a score. Lyons led 14-0 after a Jake Elliot PAT kick.
Harris was at it again toward the beginning of the second quarter, scooping up a Leyden fumble near the sideline, and returning it 49 yards for another touchdown.
With 32 playoff points entering the contest, the Lions look like a sure bet to hear their names when brackets are announced Saturday.
“Right from the start, we came out like lions, we are the king of the jungle,” said Harris. “It definitely felt good, though. The last three weeks, we have pretty much been playing in the playoffs already.”
The Lions’ offense was just as motivated as the defense.
Mahoney tossed another TD pass at the end of the first quarter, and then ran for a 25-yard TD with just seconds left before halftime, giving Lyons a 42-6 cushion after another Elliot PAT kick. The senior quarterback completed 9-of-16 passes for 159 yards, all in the first half.
Leyden (7-2) entered the contest on a six-game winning streak, but the WSC Gold champ had trouble moving the ball most of the game.
Mike Smith found the end zone for the Eagles in the second quarter, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Lyons and Leyden football teams.