LYONS — After stopping the Yuma Indians on the first possession of overtime, the Lyons football team put it’s faith in senior Forest Donnell’s hands. Or, rather, his feet.
Donnell emphatically booted a 25-yard field goal to give the Lions a 10-7 overtime victory over the Indians. It was the first time the Lions have beaten the Indians since they began playing each year in 2008.
“I just knew I couldn’t let my team down, especially for the second time,” Donnell said. “It felt great making it.”
Donnell made the pivotal kick, but he had a chance to seal the deal with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. He missed a 32-yard field goal low and to the left.
Despite Donnell struggling with hip and knee injuries, and the fact that long snapper Levi Campbell has been snapping with a broken hand since the Lions’ zero-week game, Lions head coach John Nichols still felt confident about the overtime try.
Nichols was confident enough in his kicker and snapper to go ahead and take a shot on third down instead of running one more play.
“We were actually debating just doing it right there on first down,” Nichols said. “You’ve seen it a million times. A kid, most of the time, is not gonna miss it a second time, and they’re just chomping at the bit to redeem themselves.”
Donnell’s kick was a fitting ending to a frustrating back-and-forth contest.
The Lions (2-1) scored first on a 45-yard run by quarterback Jordan Melani. After that, the offense stalled against Yuma’s tough run defense.
The lack of first-down production forced the Lions to pass. Midway through the third quarter, Melani (4-for-15) had attempted more passes than he did in the first two games combined.
“Yuma’s been a strong team, and we knew that. Right off the bat, I talked to coach right before the game and said, ‘We’re gonna run it once and most likely have to pass on second down,” Melani said. “We scouted out their last game and the pass really hurt them. We’re definitely getting more confident in the passes.”
The Lions were expecting Yuma (1-2), on the other hand, to come in and throw the ball. With the help of a few dropped passes, the Lions held Indians quarterback James Hess to 4-for-22 passing and intercepted him once.
Leading 7-0, the Lions caught a huge break just before halftime. Indians receiver Blake Sewell got behind Anthony Triffet with 25 seconds remaining, but dropped the wide-open deep pass.
The Lions missed a second-quarter scoring opportunity when Triffet made a diving interception to give them the ball back at the Indians’ 23-yard line. But, a three-and-out led to a botched snap on a field goal attempt that re-gifted the ball to the Indians’ offense at the 48-yard line.
In the third quarter, the Lions fumbled the ball on their own 6-yard line, which led to a Justin Koenig 1-yard touchdown dive on fourth-and-goal with 32 second left.
Brad Cochi can be reached at email@example.com.
LYONS 10, YUMA 7 (OT)
At Lyons H.S.
Yuma (1-2) 0 0 7 0 0 — 7
Lyons (2-1) 7 0 0 0 3 — 10
Lyons — Jordan Melani 45 run (Forrest Donnell kick).
Yuma –Justin Koenig 1 run (Sahid Devora kick).
Lyons –Donnell 25 field goal.
First downs 9 10
Rushes-yards 42-165 32-148
Passing yards 49 63
Comp-Att-Int 4-15-0 4-22-1
Punts-Avg. 8-40 7-36.1
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 7-45 7-50
RUSHING — Yuma: Matt Bowland 12-77, Alex Klopp 6-24, James Hess 8-42, Koenig 5-7, Connor Blach 1- -2; Lyons: Jayse Long 16-52, Jordan Melani 21-85, Anthony Triffet 4-22, Erik Blai 1-6.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Yuma: Hess 4-22-1-63; Lyons: Melani 4-15-0-49.
RECEIVING — Yuma: Blake Sewell 2-57, Dalton McMurphy 1-2, Koenig 1-4; Lyons: Triffet 2-25, Donnell 2-24.