LYONS — The mid-2000s were a good period for both the Lyons and Holyoke football teams, a time when many battles between the squads came with playoff positions hinging on the outcome.
For the Lions under third-year coach Jason Yantzer, the goal is to get back to those promising times. However, as shown on Friday night at Lyons High, the young team is going to have to withstand some growing pains in the process.
In the first series meeting since 2007, a bigger, deeper and physical Holyoke made the lengthy trek from near the Kansas border and spoiled the season opener for LHS with a 55-0 win.
Guided by alumnus Dusty Sprague, Holyoke took advantage of four first-half takeaways and cruised to a running clock in the second quarter, putting LHS back to the drawing board for next week's game against Clear Creek. Junior Blake Mosenteen did most of the damage for Hoyloke, rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
"They definitely got their feet wet today, and we're going to have to learn to react to some adversity," Yantzer said after the setback, which saw their opponents rack up 375 total rushing yards. "They kind of mowed us over right off the bat, and we didn't know how to react even though we've been trying to work on some things.
"We'll get back next week to working hard again."
To just say Lyons is young is not putting it fully into perspective. Friday's roster included 26 kids, and 18 of the listed participants are either freshmen or sophomores. Ultimately, they are going to get to grow up playing against bigger teams all season, and for Yantzer there is hope that they'll fight together on the journey.
"We talked after the game and just said that now is the time to come together as a team and just reflect a little bit on what we can do as individuals to get better, and if we do that it'll help get us better," he said. "There were times in the run game where we tried to compress a little bit, or where we ended up a little too far past the line (of scrimmage). We'll come back and work hard."
Holyoke (2-0) gained its advantage largely because of field position. After opening the game with a three-play, 59-yard drive capped by Mosenteen's 51-yard touchdown, a fumble on a bad pitch from Aidan Christiansen to Isaac Paswaters set HHS up at the Lyons 10.
A half-back option pass from Mosenteen to Caleb Deaver on a fourth-and-goal made it 14-0 with just 2 minutes, 42 seconds gone off the clock. The Dragons made it 21-0 on a 60-yard drive still in the first quarter and continued to bully the hosts along the line of scrimmage.
Lyons did get one break to go its way late in the second quarter but could not take advantage. A Christiansen punt was muffed by the Holyoke returner and the Lions were able to fall on the ball in the red zone. But on the first play, with a chance to get on the board, Christiansen was intercepted.
Holyoke would intercept four passes altogether, putting a lot of pressure on the home defense to get stops.
Lyons finished with 73 total yards, with Christiansen rushing for 37 yards to lead the way.
Holyoke 55, Lyons 0
At Lyons HSHolyoke (2-0)281377—55Lyons (0-1)0000—0
Holyoke — Blake Mosenteen 51 run (Alexis Vega kick). Holyoke — Caleb Deaver 5 pass from Mosenteen (Vega kick). Holyoke — Seth Watson 7 run (Vega kick). Holyoke — Luis Chafino 19 pass from Miles Sprague (Vega kick).
Holyoke — Michael Ramos 1 run (kick failed). Holyoke — Mosenteen 56 run (Vega kick).
Holyoke — Ethan Johnson 3 run (Vega kick).
Holyoke — M. Sprague 10 interception return (Vega kick).
RUSHING — Holyoke: Blake Mosenteen 11-217, Michael Ramos 5-54, Seth Watson 5-51, Ethan Johnson 2-16, Miles Sprague 3-5, Mauro Morales 2-15, Jesus Trejo 1-7, Carlos Legarreta 1-10. Lyons: Aidan Christiansen 6-37, Frank Percarpio 4-5, Colton Bashor 2-(minus-4), Isaac Paswaters 8-(minus-6).
PASSING — Holyoke: M. Sprague 1-4-0-19, Mosenteen 1-1-0-5. Lyons: Christiansen 1-7-2-6, Bashor 2-10-2-35
RECEIVING — Holyoke: Luis Chafino 1-19, Caleb Deaver 1-5. Lyons: Christiansen 1-11, Ethan Wilson 1-24, Sean Stevelinck 1-6.