Lyons edges Hinsdale Central for 1st time since 2013
Junior cornerback Danny Montesano and the Lyons Township football team's defense wanted to prove themselves against rival and two-time defending West Suburban Silver champion Hinsdale Central Friday.
The Lions' first turnover of the season clinched one of their greatest victory in years.
Montesano's end-zone interception with 38.9 seconds remaining secured the 10-7 home victory in Western Springs -- the Lions' first victory over the Red Devils since 2013.
"It's a huge win. Everything just happened so fast at the goal line," Montesano said. "A long time (waiting). It means so much. It just feels so good, playing for all of the people who played before me."
LT (3-0, 1-0) continues its best start since 2017, the last time it made the playoffs until last season. The victory also snaps the Red Devils' 12-game winning streak against Silver opponents, which began against LT in the 2019 regular-season finale.
"I've been thinking about this game since I was like 8 years old," said LT senior linebacker/running back Danny Pasko. "A big rivalry. We hadn't beaten them in years. We wanted to change that and we did."
The Red Devils (1-2) scored just 15.9 seconds before halftime for a 7-3 lead on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Billy Cernugel to a wide-open Reece Kolke. The Lions, who deferred the opening-game kickoff, then marched the opening drive of the third quarter 80 yards to score what proved to be the game-winner on a 4-yard run by quarterback Ryan Jackson.
The rest of the way both sides resumed great defense and strategic punting by Cernugel and LT's Carter Reid that continued stretching the fields.
"That was a heavyweight fight," LT coach Jon Beutjer said. "The key is for our program and the varsity to get better, not satisfied with this win. It's a tough conference. But what a great night for high school football and our LT football program, the community and the alums. This win was for all of them as well."
On their final drive, the Red Devils reached the LT 12 before their potential game-winning score or game-tying field goal was thwarted. Montesano said he was supposed to defend strong side but was matched up with Kolke and not enough time to switch. He stepped in front of the pass for the pick.
"They did more things well (than us) right? Absolutely all of the credit to them," Hinsdale Central coach Brian Griffin said. "They came out in an awesome environment on an awesome night and made plays and we didn't. They just made more plays at those moments."
On LT's opening drive, David Waight kicked his third field goal this season, a 35-yarder. The Lions' touchdown drive took 14 plays and consumed 8:28. Jackson, who had 200-plus passing games the first two weeks, had 91 yards Friday, including the biggest play of the drive -- an 18-yard pass to Noah Pfafflin on third-and-14 to the Red Devils' 13.
Pasko also contributed at running back after an injury to starter Jack Cheney (42 yards, 13 carries). Pasko (40 yards, 9 carries) had just one carry prior to Friday. Defensively, Pasko joined Kellen Knop, Pfafflin and Division I prospect Eddie Tuerk in four quarterback sacks.
The LT student section dressed in white with numerous Beat Hinsdale T-shirts fueled the Lions' motivation.
"It was something. The environment's awesome this game." Pasko said. "You would get tired and then you'd look in the stands (and think), 'I'm not tired anymore.' "
Joe Boggs and Max Williams led Hinsdale Central in tackles. Cornerback Kevin Connors set up the Red Devils' score with a third-down tackle keeping LT inches from a first down and returning the ensuing punt 20 yards to the LT 29. Cernugel rushed for 105 yards after beginning the game alternating plays at quarterback with Ben Monahan before he went down with an ankle injury late in the first quarter.
The Red Devils also lost receiver Carter Contreras early to injury and later running back Kellen Tran. Joseph Morrissey replaced Tran during the final drive.