In keeping with the tradition of a long line of South Lyon running backs, senior Connor McGee is the quintessential throwback.
He’s physical, not afraid to block and bursts through the line like he’s been shot out of a cannon – not to mention he’ll run it right up the gut of the defense without consequence.
In a day and age where players are always looking for the next best equipment to make them jump higher, run faster or grip the ball better, McGee pays great homage to the players of yesteryear by doing all of this without gloves.
“I feel like my hands sweat a lot, so I just get a good grip on the ball (without gloves) because they’re easier to dry,” said McGee, who keyed a 37-13 season opening win Aug. 27 at Pinckney.
So perhaps it’s safe to say that, just like an Allstate commercial, you can bet that the Lions’ offense is in good hands.
McGee’s willingness to muck it up with the best of them helped put South Lyon on the board at the 8:49 mark of the second quarter.
Two plays after quarterback Carlo Zoratti connected with wide receiver Joshua Travis for 35-yard gain, Zoratti (10-for-16, 124 yards) zeroed in on McGee off an out-route for an 18-yard touchdown.
After trading scores to make it 15-6 at halftime, Pinckney struggled to secure the ball in the third, with three of its drives ending on fourth down via fumble, an incomplete pass and a sack.
With 11 seconds left in the quarter, South Lyon called upon McGee (17 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards) once again, this time on goal line run to widen the gap on the scoreboard to 16.
“We had a lot of adversity in the first half and we barreled through,” Lions coach Mark Thomas said. “Give credit to the defense, because they stepped it up. The offense came through just before halftime. A lot of kids are new and, going in, we didn’t know what we had. I think we grew up pretty fast and we’ll get better and it’s something we’ll work on. Give credit to the coaching staff for making the accommodations and changes they’ve made, because it’s helped us a lot.”
The Pirates’ lack of ball control carried into the fourth, when a fumble at their 25 was scooped up by the Lions’ Max McComb to initiate a short scoring drive.
Just four plays in, senior running back Trevor Tank (13 carries, 62 yards) took a direct snap out of the backfield and barreled his way into the end zone to make it 30-6.
Tank would repeat the feat shortly after on a 5-yard dash up the middle with 7:44 left.
The Pirates caught their South Lyon off-guard at the 1:24 mark, as reserve quarterback Austin Staebler hit Jacob Robinson in stride off a post pattern for a 59-yard TD.
South Lyon had the edge in total offense, 281-224.
South Lyon strung together a strong effort on the defensive end, accumulating four sacks and recovering four of Pinckney’s six fumbles.
Junior Travis Marcus was a defensive standout for South Lyon, racking up 11 tackles (31/2 for loss) and forcing three fumbles.
Pirates quarterback Brandon Leach completed nine passes for 121 yards and a TD, complemented by the rushing attack of Rory Poszywak (five carries, 53 yards) and Tyler Diehr (11 carries, 46 yards).
“We talk about tradition and this is 11 Mile and Pontiac Trail, rock ’em, sock ’em football,” Thomas said. “People expected a good game and hard-fought game and it was. We got pretty physical and that’s how we teach and that’s how we coach.”
East falls, 60-14
Things didn’t go according to plan Friday night for turnover-plagued South Lyon East as host Waterford Kettering rolled to a 60-14 season-opening win.
East committed three turnovers and also gave up an 85-yard kickoff return to Tony Walker, spoiling the coaching debut of Joe Pesci.
Senior Travell Weatherby was a major thorn in East’s side as he rushed for 113 yards on just five carries while scoring five TDs. He ran for four scores, all in the first quarter, and had another TD on a 40-yard reception from quarterback Henry Mistrzak as the Captains built a 26-0 lead. Mistrzak also rushed for 88 yards and a TD.
In the second quarter, the Cougars got on the board when Josh Smith threw a 71-yard TD pass to Jake Waranauckas, but East trailed 46-7 at intermission.
Mike Machesky ran from 1 yard out in the final quarter for East’s other TD.