Lyons football season preview

2014 schedule
Aug. 29 at Warren 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Willowbrook 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 Leyden 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Glenbard West 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 Downers Grove North 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 Hinsdale Central 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 at OPRF 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 York 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Proviso West 7:30 p.m.

Best game on the schedule: Lyons at Glenbard West at Duchon Field, 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20

Lyons will open conference play against Glenbard West for the second year in a row. The Hilltoppers used their potent ground game to beat Lyons 44-7 in last year’s contest, which dropped the Lions to 1-3. Glenbard’s new top running threat is Donahvon Vaughn, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound Division I prospect.

Best-case scenario: “I think we can get downstate if we can stay healthy. We are not terribly deep, but talented,” Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg said. But can the defense keep opponents out of the end zone? Much like last season, Lyons is expected to put points on the board, but return just three defensive starters. Weinberg hopes a rebuilt lineup can avoid last year’s slow start where three of Lyons’ first four opponents each scored more than 42 points.

Best position group: The top quarterback-running back combo in the conference is Tom Fiedler and Miami, Ohio, recruit Leonard Ross. Ross is 6-foot, 195 pounds, while Fiedler, a 6-3, 170-pound left-handed QB, has interest from Big Ten schools, Vanderbilt and Northern Illinois. “[Our] offensive backfield with Leonard Ross and Tommy Fiedler — enough said,” Weinberg said.

Best playmaker: Leonard Ross bypassed a scholarship opportunity with Illinois to commit to the RedHawks, which went 0-12 in 2013 and offer the shifty back a better opportunity to play. He ran for a personal-record 220 yards and three TDs against Leyden in Week 3 last season. “Leonard can carry a drive and make plays out of nothing. It’s awesome watching him run on film. It’s been great blocking for him,” senior offensive lineman Blaze Nacker said.

Best teammate: Senior linebacker Joe Dillon is one of three returning defensive starters, with linemen Aaron Smith and Dante Stefanini. “[Dillon] helps teach the guys that don’t know or understand the defense. He helps with what’s going on,” Lyons senior receiver Emmett Corrigan said.

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2013 record: 5-5 overall, 4-2 West Suburban Silver

2013 playoffs: Lost 20-16 to Simeon in Class 8A first round

Head coach: Kurt Weinberg, entering sixth season

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