YORK TWP. — No Lyon. The kid is pretty good.
Senior quarterback Josh Lyon was a one-man show Friday as Canton South’s football team earned a hard-fought 14-7 non-league win over Buckeye.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder accounted for 290 of the Wildcats’ 295 yards total offense and had a hand in both scores as South (2-0) built a 14-7 halftime lead and held on for dear life.
Lyon used his arm and his legs with equal results. He connected on 14-of-21 passes for 186 yards and ran for 104 more on 17 attempts.
“He was our entire offense,” South coach Moe Daniska said. “They took away our entire running game. They were big and physical on the defensive line and they came ready to play. We had to put the ball in his hands. He’s our leader. He’s a three-year starter and he makes our offense go.”
The strong-armed quarterback who has drawn the interest of several schools, including Akron and Toledo, got things rolling by connecting with D.J. Wilson for a 58-yard touchdown on his team’s first drive.
“I like to just run the offense and be the best player I can be for my teammates,” Lyon said. “My line did well with their roles and my wide receivers did well with their roles. I try to give 110 percent every play.”
The score capped a nine-play, 96-yard drive and gave the Wildcats a 6-0 lead after the extra point attempt failed on a bad snap.
The Bucks (0-2) bounced back on their next drive behind seniors Christian Petek (4-of-8 passing, 28 yards, 21 carries, 75 yards) and Cody Fortney (21 carries, 129 yards).
Petek and Fortney totaled 76 yards on an 80-yard scoring drive, with Jeff Susalla toting the ball the final 4 yards. The George Rusinko extra point gave the Bucks a 7-6 lead.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Buckeye coach Mark Pinzone said. “They were running like trucks. What they did for the team offensively and defensively is phenomenal.”
Lyon led the way again for the Wildcats on the ensuing possession, capping the 80-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown on third-and-8. He scampered in on the two-point try as well to push the lead to 14-7 with 6:06 to play in the half.
That ended the scoring for the night, but not the hanging by a claw suspense that carried through the rest of the game.
The Bucks kept coming up with the big play, but had a hard time making the next play.
“I’m not going to make any excuses, but our kids play a lot of downs,” Pinzone said. “A lot of guys are going both ways. I think the kids are learning what it takes to play 80, 90, 100 plays. Unfortunately with our roster size, we have to do a lot of that. I think that gets a little difficult for us. But what the kids need to do is string things together, string drives together.”
Buckeye seemed poised to even the game up several times, but penalties (8 for 70 yards) and inconsistency doomed the comeback attempt.
After running off a 14-play 53-yard drive that ate 7 minutes off the clock, the Bucks faced fourth-and-4 from the South 27-yard line. Petek’s pass to Adam Bartinelli fell incomplete.
“That was huge,” Daniska said. “They had momentum. They were moving the ball at will. But we did a good job when our backs were against the wall and I’m proud of the effort that we had.”
South’s next possession ended when Petek came up with a huge interception at the Buckeye 15 and returned it to the 33. A three-and-out was all the Bucks could muster.
Buckeye got one last chance with 5:52 left to play. Another solid drive came down to another critical-fourth down play. Petek rolled right and fired back across the field for a perfectly executed screen play, but the pass slipped through Fortney’s hands with nothing but green grass and Buckeye blockers out in front.
Lyon toted the ball six times for 33 yards on the final drive and finally closed the door on the upset-minded Bucks.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.
South 14, Buckeye 7
SOUTH 6 8 0 0 — 14
BUCKEYE 0 7 0 0 — 7
C — D.J. Wilson 58 pass from Josh Lyon (kick failed), 2:36
B — Jeff Susalla 4 run (George Rusinko Kick), 10:01
C — Lyon 19 run (Lyon run), 6:06