LT Football Wins Overtime Playoff Thriller After 4th-Quarter Rally
The Lions' improbable playoff run isn't over yet as LT pulls off their second straight three-point upset win, topping Glenbrook South 34-31 on the strength of five Jaime Jones TD runs.
These Lions have a flair for drama—and then for repeating that drama a week later.
Earlier in the season, the Lyons Township football team won consecutive last-second thrillers on the strength of Jake Elliott’s leg. On Saturday, for the second week in a row, they won an 8A playoff game by three points following an improbable late-game rally.
The Lions (7-4) knocked off Glenbrook South (8-3) in overtime, 34-31, as running back Jaime Jones capped his performance of the season by scoring his fifth touchdown of the night on the Lions’ first offensive overtime play, from 10 yards out, following a penalty-aided defensive stand that kept the Titans to a field goal.
LT’s win came at home in an atmosphere of continuing grief over the Oct. 27 murder of freshman Kelli O’Laughlin. A moment of silence was held before the game, and both the LT crowd and coaches were seen openly crying after the victory.
"Obviously it's been a very rough week," Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg said. "It (the win) gives our community something to smile about, which we need. But at the same time, nothing can ever replace her (Kelli), and our thoughts are all with her family and friends during this extremely difficult time."
"I want you to quote this," Jones told the Chicago Tribune after his winning touchdown. "This win was for Kelli O'Laughlin. I can't tell you how much it means to us.”
With just over three minutes left in the 3rd quarter, an LT victory looked extremely unlikely after the Titans’ Michael Demos blocked a Lions punt and Sully Sadler ran it back 15 yards to give Glenbrook South a 28-14 lead. This came two minutes after a devastating interception and single offensive run had given South the one-touchdown lead.
But LT answered with a five-play touchdown drive; then, with just 2:55 left in the game, DB Victor Conforti recovered a critical fourth-down Titans fumble and the Lions put together a six-play drive finished off with a tying 5-yard TD run by Jones, setting the stage for his overtime heroics.
By now, “we’re used to coming from behind like this,” said LT coach Kurt Weinberg. “It’s an amazing feeling.”
The remarkable Jones, a senior, had 172 rushing yards on 24 attempts and accounted for 30 of LT’s 34 points—and the rest were just Elliott extra points on his touchdowns. His TD runs came from 27, 21, 10, five and three yards.
Former backup quarterback Zachary Mahoney, who only secured a starting spot last week, was 16 of 27 for 177 yards with two interceptions. Matthew Harris led the receiving corps with eight catches for 85 yards.
Defensive stat leaders were linebacker Billy Cramsie (four tackles, eight assists), DB Michael Thomas (three tackles, six assists) DB Conforti (four tackles, five assists), DL Anthony Simonelli (three tackles, four assists and a six-yard sack) and linebacker Ian Aureli-Braun (three tackles, four assists.)
"Our kids knew coming in that we had to play 48 minutes," said Titans coach Mike Noll. "Lyons is a team that had a bunch of late comeback wins this season. We had the chance to finish them off and we didn't."
LT advances to the state quarterfinals at Loyola.