Snow day: Lyman tops Burke in blizzardy playoff opener
Raiders pull away in the second half of a Class 9A opener
PRESHO -- It felt like a snow globe on Thursday at Lyman’s football field.
As snow blanketed the field and flakes fell all game long, the Raiders eliminated Burke from the Class 9A playoffs with a 36-16 opening-round victory.
“I never played in snow, but it was a good time,” Lyman running back/linebacker Colton Collins said. “This is going to be a memory for a lifetime here.”
The contest was moved ahead nearly three hours due to snow in the forecast. But that didn’t stop the blizzardy conditions during the game, making it that much more memorable for the Raiders. The game was a stark contrast to the season opener between the two teams, played on the same field with Lyman emerging as winners in a 12-8 game on Aug. 21.
“We said this is a memory you can make that you are going to remember for the rest of your life,” Lyman coach Michael Kieffer said. “As far as playing in these conditions, you don’t do it very often. I am so proud of our kids’ resolve.”
After an 8-0 halftime lead, the Cougars’ Taron Serr scored a seven-yard touchdown run on Burke’s opening drive of the second half to even it at 8-all.
From there, Lyman (6-2) opened it up in the second half to put away the Cougars.
“They came out and scored and I think our guys said, ‘Yeah, they can move the ball on us and they can score. We better respond,’ ” Kieffer said. “That’s exactly what we did. Our guys up front really stepped up.”
Teagan Gourneau and Collins answered with back-to-back touchdowns. Collins’ touchdown came after a Burke fumble and it put Lyman ahead, 24-8.
“Anytime you can get a turnover — no matter what the conditions are and you are able to score on top of that — it really puts your opponent behind the eight ball,” Kieffer said.
Serr responded with his second touchdown, a four-yard run with 1:08 left in the third quarter as Burke got within 24-16.
But Burke (5-4) couldn’t get any closer as Lyman put it away in the fourth quarter. Gourneau connected with Declan Cleveland for a nine-yard touchdown pass, while Stockton McClanahan intercepted Burke’s Ben Witt on the next possession.
Collins then plowed his way in for an eight-yard touchdown run, putting an exclamation point on the victory. Collins also scored Lyman’s first touchdown on a 20-yard run on the opening drive of the game.
“The line stepped up and they started getting faster on their pulls and they just stepped up big time and made blocks for me,” Collins said.
The junior finished with a season-best 254 rushing yards on 35 carries and three touchdowns, bringing him to 1,114 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. Thursday marked the fourth time this season Collins has had three or more rushing touchdowns in a game.
“He was huge,” Kieffer said. “He’s been huge for us all season. The kid is 150 pounds soaking wet. He’s the toughest kid on our team and he has the biggest heart on our team and you can ask any of our guys. They would say the same thing.”
For Burke, Serr finished with 44 rushing yards and the two touchdowns. Witt added 48 rushing yards for Burke, which finished with 120 total yards. The Cougars, however, committed three turnovers.
“We talked about in a game like this in these conditions, whoever makes the fewest mistakes is going to win the game and it was true,” Kieffer said. “We didn’t make a lot of mistakes and we came out on top.”
Lyman’s quarterfinal opponent is to be determined, with the game to be played on Oct. 29.