Super 25 football countdown: No 22 LyonsLyons' Matthew Harris (11) slips into the end zone on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter against Bartlett on Saturday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 3, 2012 2:53PM
That’s not a misprint on the T-shirts Lyons football players have been wearing this summer.
The shirts bear the number “212,” which is not a reference to the year minus the “0.” Instead, it’s a nod to the boiling point of water.
“We’ve talked to our guys about getting it up another degree,” said coach Kurt Weinberg, who has taken the Lions to the IHSA quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
The bar has been raised for Lyons, which is No. 22 in the Sun-Times’ preseason Super 25.
“We need to be state champions,” said Northwestern-bound senior Matthew Harris. “We can’t be satisfied with getting to the quarterfinals. It’s just not enough for the school.”
And it’s not enough for senior left tackle Nicholas Demes, the anchor of the Lions’ offensive line.
“We’re a senior-led team,” said Demes, an outstanding student who scored a 35 on the ACT. “Last year, we worked hard, [made the] quarterfinals. We had a good year. We’re ready to step it up to the next degree.”
It starts with Harris, a 6-foot, 170-pounder who will range all over the field for the Lions. Last year, Harris lined up at quarterback in a Wildcat formation, saw time at running back and wide receiver and returned kicks.
Opposing defenses will try to take away Harris, but they then risk being burned by some other playmakers.
“We have a lot of weapons on the outside,” Demes said.
Among them are wide receiver Jamari Burks and running back Victor Conforti, both seniors. Conforti plays much larger than his 5-6, 145-pound frame,
“The kid loves to hit and he’s almost as fast as Matt,” Demes said of Conforti.
“When we have speed competitions, he’s neck and neck with Matthew,” Weinberg added.
Senior quarterback Zach Mahoney will be in charge of the Lyons’ offense after splitting time last season.
“He’s taking care of the ball well,” Weinberg said. “He understands what we’re trying to do.”
Demes (6-4, 270), who is getting plenty of Ivy League interest, is in charge of opening holes for Conforti and Harris and protecting senior quarterback Zach Mahoney.
“He’s an excellent football player ...very athletic,” Weinberg said of Demes. “He’s got the potential to be one of the best offensive linemen – if not the best – I’ve coached.”
Another Lion with considerable upside is senior kicker Jake Elliott, who had game-winning boots of 52 and 47 yards last season and has hit a 57-yarder this summer.
“A lot of high school teams, they have troubles kicking balls through the uprights,” Demes said. “Having Jake, it’s very valuable. We know that he’s going to be money.”