Lyons pounds Proviso West to avoid elimination in final game for fourth straight season

SHARE Lyons pounds Proviso West to avoid elimination in final game for fourth straight season
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HILLSIDE — For Lyons’ three third-year varsity members, Friday night’s football game felt like deja vu all over again.

Lyons was back in the identical territory where it has been the three previous years, with its playoff fate resting on the final game of the regular season. And for the fourth consecutive season, Lyons won in Week 9 to advance to the postseason.

Miami, Ohio-bound running back Leonard Ross scored four touchdowns and quarterback Tom Fiedler threw two touchdown passes to Michael Grace as Lyons cruised to a 42-20 West Suburban Silver victory at Proviso West (2-7, 0-6).

Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg said he doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that Lyons’ playoff chances were determined in the regular season finale four straight years.

“It’s our conference again,” Weinberg said. “I’ve said it a thousand times — our conference will prepare you, but it will give you bruises too. To have four losses four years in row … what happens happens.”

Lyons (5-4, 3-3) is in good shape to be the fourth WSC Silver team to advance to the postseason when the playoff brackets are released Saturday night by the IHSA. Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central and Oak Park-River Forest already clinched berths.

Lyons has made it to the playoffs all six years with Weinberg as coach. The last time Lyons failed to make the playoffs was in former coach Jack Derning’s last season in 2008.

Third-year varsity seniors Dante Stefanini, Fiedler and Ross came up with big plays on Friday. Stefanini had two sacks at defensive end. The two passes thrown by Fiedler (9 of 13, 125 yards) to Grace in the end zone went for 30 yards in the second quarter and for eight yards in the third.

Ross (23 carries, 160 yards) scored three TDs in the first quarter on two runs of five yards and another of 20. He added a 27-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to finish the regular season with 16 rushing touchdowns.

“I would rather it not be thrilling to end the season,” Ross said. “I don’t like it when we have to win [in Week 9], but we get the job done.”

Although Lyons lost last year’s playoff opener to Simeon, Stefanini was a part of Lyons’ quarterfinal team in 2012.

“The seniors know [the Week 9 game] is our last chance,” Stefanini said. “That’s what motivates us and drives us. I’ve been part of three 5-4 teams going into the playoffs, but we have had playoff success.”

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