Lionhearted: Lyons QB comes up big in victory over Hillsboro


Hillsboro defenders try unsuccessfully to stop Lyons quarterback Jake Craig from crossing the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run during the second quarter of Friday?s game. Craig, an all-league quarterback last season, compiled 155 rushing yards on 37 carries.

Hillsboro nearly pulled out a comeback homecoming victory after trailing 16-0 at halftime, but the Lyons Lions held off the Trojans by a 16-13 margin Friday (Sept. 25) at Joel H. Wiens Stadium. The loss was the Trojans? first of the season and the first in four games at their new stadium, which was formally dedicated at halftime.

The legs of Jack Craig, Lyons? all-league quarterback, carried the visitors to their seemingly comfortable halftime lead. Craig, who finished with 155 rushing yards on 37 carries, scored both Lyons touchdowns and kicked a field goal.

Despite facing its largest deficit of the season, Hillsboro came out of halftime charged up. On Lyons? opening possession of the second half, Jacob Edwards picked off a Craig pass to give HHS possession at the Lions? 21-yard line.

Seven plays later, Edwards was on the receiving end of a fourth-down scoring pass over the middle from nine yards by quarterback Jacob Fish. Hillsboro went for the 2-point pass to Ben Bebermeyer, but it fell incomplete.

After a three-and-out by Lyons, Hillsboro drove from its own 28 all the way to the Lyons 9-yard line, with a 30-yard pass to Bebermeyer being the big play in the middle of the drive. But the Trojans failed to score and turned the ball over on downs on the 10-yard line.

Lyons then drove the length of the field, only to be stopped by the Trojan defense at the 1-yard line 13 plays later.

With the Hillsboro offense taking over from there, Fish connected with Edwards for 43-yard pass play for a first down at the Trojan 44. Nine plays later Fish found Bebermeyer in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Ethan Frantz kicked the extra point to make the score 16-13 with 4:51 left in the game.

Hillsboro tried an onside kick, but it failed to travel the required 10 yards, giving Lyons the ball at the Trojan 43. But the defense stopped Craig for another three-and-out and got the ball back on its own 20-yard line after his punt bounced into the end zone for a touchback.

Hillsboro then drove to midfield in five plays. A penalty pushed the Trojans back five yards and three straight incomplete passes set up a fourth-down at the Trojan 45. Fish threw for Edwards near the middle of the field but the ball was off the mark and intercepted. Lyons regained possession at its own 44 with 2:23 left in the game.

But the Trojans forced one more three-and-out, and took possession after the punt on its own 20 yard line with 48.8 seconds left. But four straight incomplete passes by Fish ended Hillsboro?s chance for a heroic comeback victory.

The loss drops HHS to 3-1 while the win by Lyons raises its record to 3-1.

?We knew we had a tough kid there (in Craig),? coach Max Heinrichs said. ?Our goal was to keep pounding on him and wear him down, but he really showed up. He?s as good (an athlete) as we?ll see, probably. Give him credit.?

He credited his team?s second-half rally to some halftime adjustments.

?We saw a lot of things at the end of the half that we made adjustments to, and we were able to run the ball better right away?a nd that gave us a little more confidence,? Heinrichs said. ?Once we had the running game going, we could pass more effectively.

?I don?t know that we did either one of those very well tonight,? he added. ?But give (Lyons) credit for that too. It was one of those nights where we knew we were playing a pretty good team.?

HHS outgained Lyons for the night, 256 yards to 188. For the Lions, all but 19 yards came on the ground. HHS finished with 178 passing yards, but Fish managed only 14 completions in 36 attempts and had one pass intercepted.

Heinrichs said he was pleased with how his team battled in the second half.

?Our kids hung in there and played well and tough,? he said. ?They just kept getting after it.?

Coming?Hillsboro plays its first road game of the season Friday at Sterling (1-3). Both teams have played Ellinwood, with Sterling losing to the Eagles 32-13 on opening day while the Trojans defeated Ellinwood 32-6 in Week 3.

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