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Football Class 8A Playoffs | York edges Lyons on walk-off FG

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By Mike Walsh
Correspondent

Score one – three, actually – for the concept of positive mental visualization.

With one second remaining in the IHSA Class 8A second-round matchup between York and Lyons, Dukes kicker Damian Glodz was asked by his coaches to do one thing: Make a 30-yard field goal to win the game.

The senior, who also plays soccer for York, drilled his kick perfectly down the middle with distance to spare, providing his team with a thrilling 17-14 victory at Bennet Field in Western Springs.

“I had a dream about this,” Glodz said. “I thought about this last night. I had to make this kick for my family and for my teammates.

“I knew the kick was good the moment it came off my foot. But I couldn’t celebrate because my teammates tackled me, but it was awesome. They rushed me so I didn’t see it go through.”

The Dukes (10-1) will play Edwardsville (10-1) this week in the quarterfinals.

It was the second loss to York this season for the Lions (7-4), who dropped a 24-14 decision in a West Suburban Silver matchup on Oct. 14.

Glodz’s kick capped an 18-play, 80-yard drive that absorbed the final six minutes of the game. York had taken over possession at their own 20-yard line after Lyons kicker Tommy Newcomb’s 41-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.

Glodz had missed wide left on a 41-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter.

“I wasn’t nervous,” York coach Mike Fitzgerald said of Glodz’s game-winning attempt. “This is only Damian’s second year playing football, but he’s hit some big kicks for us in pressure situations before. He’s a mentally tough kid who stays in the moment.”

Lyons came into the season with aspirations of making a deep postseason run, but failed to match the success of last year’s team that made it to the Class 8A quarterfinals. The Lions’ point differential in their four losses was minus-30 (7.7 per game) and included a pair of three-point defeats, and their opponents in those four games have a combined record of 26-7.

Lyons coach Job Beutjer praised his players’ work ethic, commitment, resilience and “fight.”

“Our kids, all season, demonstrated heart and they refused to lose,” Beutjer said. “We asked them to battle tonight and they did. We had the opportunity to make the field goal … we would have at least gone into overtime.

“But I’m proud of our kids. You have the intentions to win the game and to lose like this is tough.”

Lyons quarterback Ryan Jackson went 12-of-22 passing for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He capped a five-play, 58-yard drive with a 40-yard TD strike to a leaping Jack McQueeney on the final play of the first quarter to level the score at 7-7.

McQueeney finished with four receptions for 59 yards and the score. Dylan Rickman had 49 yards on 10 carries for Lyons.

The Lions took a 14-7 lead when Jackson collaborated with a jumping Jack Cheney on a 30-yard scoring pass with 3:04 to go in the second quarter.

“Ryan’s a special quarterback,” Beutjer said. “He does a lot of things very well. He can run and throw the football. He has the gift to make throws on the run.

“He wants to play at the next level and a kid like him doesn’t come along very often. Ryan’s a great young man who can do it all.”

The Dukes tied the score at 14 when running back Jake Melion (38 carries, 152 yards) finished a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.

York outgained Lyons 343-189. York quarterback Sean Winton was 16-of-27 passing for 150 yards and a touchdown. Chris Danko caught four passes for 55 yards and a score for the Dukes.

“Losing this one is hard,” Jackson said. “Our offensive line did a great job and I was able to step up in the pocket and hit my guys down the field.”

The now-former Lions quarterback reflected on the season and his teammates, many of whom he will graduate with next spring.

“The upperclassmen really did a great job of leading us. We built from the first loss of the season and we battled through adversity.

“This is a special group of guys.”

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