VICTORY! Lions defeat St. Joe’s

The Leo Lions simply don’t want the football season to end.

Bypassed for the IHSA playoffs because of a six-game losing streak, the Lions (4-6, 2-1 Catholic League Red Division) won their Prep Bowl playoff opener and extended their winning streak to three games by downing St. Joe’s 28-13 at St. Rita’s Pat Cronin Field on Thursday, Oct. 26.

Leo will play Fenwick, from the Catholic League White Division, in the second round of the Prep Bowl playoffs at Triton College in River Forest on Friday, Nov. 3 at 6:30. The Friars beat the Lions 28-7 when the teams met at Triton on Sept. 15.

Leo spotted St. Joe’s a 13-6 halftime lead, but used a big special-teams play to turn the game around. Midway through the third quarter, senior Chris Reno blocked a St. Joe’s field goal attempt. Sophomore Dorian Woods scooped up the loose ball and brought it back 90 yards for the game-tying touchdown. The Lions went ahead on Stephon Howard’s seven-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, and junior QB Darryl Ousley put the game away with a one-yard sneak later in the period.

Howard finished with 138 yards on 24 carries, surpassing 100 yards for the fifth time this season. Sophomore Tobias Sample gained 98 yards on just 10 carries and scored Leo’s first touchdown on an eight-yard run.

“The kids have played with a lot of heart these last few weeks, and I’m really proud of how they’ve stuck with it,” Coach Mike Holmes said. “It’s great that we’ve been able to play into November. We’re rewarding the seniors and getting more playing time and experience for the younger guys.”

Fenwick is 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the Catholic League White. Wheaton North eliminated the Friars from the IHSA playoffs with a 35-7 victory in the first round.

Triton College is located at 2000 Fifth Ave. in River Grove.