LYONS — It took an awfully long time for the Lyons football team to actually see meaningful live game action at John “Jet” Johnson Field in 2017.
The Lions had a home contest scheduled for the season opener, but Dolores Huerta Prep forfeited, citing player safety given a very small roster — though the teams did end up scrimmaging.
So LHS finally played at home when it mattered on Friday night, in the fifth week of the season.
Alas, home cooking — and even homecoming — didn’t cure what ails the Lions, at least not in the win-loss columns.
In both teams’ 1A Northern League opener, Cornerstone Christian Academy handed Lyons its fourth consecutive loss, 41-7.
“This is our first home game,” said senior running back Jake Laurenti, who rushed for 153 yards. “We’ve had three weeks away and one scrimmage here, so it was a pretty big deal for us.”
But they Lions seemed overmatched on Friday, and often shot themselves in the foot, fumbling the ball six times and losing two.
“We’ve got to get out of our own way at times,” LHS coach Jason Yantzer said. “I felt like we were digging ourselves out of a hole the whole time. I thought we played a better second half, so I was proud of them for that. But really what it’s going to boil down to now is pride and how we finish the next couple of games.”
Lyons let the Bulldogs off the hook numerous times in the first half on Friday after CC put itself in holes with penalties. And then there was those two first-half fumbles that the Bulldogs capitalized on by driving for touchdowns.
One of those fumbles derailed the Lions’ best opportunity to score before halftime. In the second quarter, LHS drove from its 5 yard line — thanks in large part to Laurenti’s 49-yard run — to the CC 13 yard line. Laurenti provided the great majority of Lyons’ net offensive yards in the first half — 87 of the team’s 97-yard total, to be exact — but he then coughed up the ball and the Bulldogs fell on it. CC ended up leading 28-0 at halftime.
All in all, with CC’s Brayden Kelch running for 206 yards and four touchdowns on the night, the Bulldogs won their fourth straight game to improve to 4-1.
And while Lyons’ defense couldn’t stop Cornerstone Christian, its offense is having its issues as well. The Lions have managed just seven points in each of their last two games.
On Friday, Lyons finally struck pay dirt offensively about halfway through the third quarter when QB Joe McCain hit Drew Booth for a 9-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 35-7.
But that was one of the few highlights for the Lions, other than a homecoming halftime look back to better days.
During intermission, Lyons introduced several members of the 1987 football team. Thirty years ago, those Lions went 13-0 and won the school’s second state championship. They beat Ignacio 13-12 in the title game.
But in the here and now, Lyons is just trying to get a victory after four straight losses.
“It’s hard when you’re not winning, but they’ve got to believe in each other and they have to believe in the program, and everybody has to give effort all the time,” Yantzer said.
Next week, Lyons goes back on the road to face Estes Park on Friday at 7 p.m.
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Cornerstone Christian 41, Lyons 7
At Lyons H.S.
Cornerstone Christian (4-1, 1-0)217130—41
Lyons (1-4, 0-1)0070—7
CC — Ethan Carlson 21 pass from Zachary Dube (Zach Roach kick). CC — Brayden Kelch 3 run (Roach kick). CC — Kelch 1 run (Roach kick).
CC — Dube 7 run (Roach kick).
CC — Kelch 49 run (Roach kick). Lyons — Drew Booth 9 pass from Joe McCain (Alexa Karsel kick). CC — Kelch 20 run (kick fail).
RUSHING — CC: Kelch 16-206, Dube 16-57, Dow 4-33, Quijas 1-14, Carlson 1-(-4). Lyons: Laurenti 19-153, Tragella 7-20, McCain 11-(-31).
PASSING — CC: Quijas 2-6-0-51, Dube 2-3-0-41. Lyons: McCain 11-25-0-96.
RECEIVING — CC: Carlson 2-53, Kelch 1-20, Roach 1-19. Lyons: Booth 5-55, Christiansen 2-15, Chavez 2-9, Sangelo 1-15, Laurenti 1-2.