WESTERN SPRINGS -- Last week, Josh Williams' record-breaking performance carried No. 13 Downers Grove South. On Friday, it was the team's bend-but-not-break defense that made the difference.
South's defense allowed more than 375 yards of total offense but made a big goal-line stand in the fourth quarter and got a boost from Williams and Danny Leach in a 28-0 shutout win over host No. 17 Lyons on Friday.
"[The offense] put them in a bad situation a number of times," South coach John Belskis said, "and they had great resolve."
Holding onto a 14-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left, South (2-0) stuffed a plunge from Lyons running back Jaime Jones at the goal line — the Lions' best chance to score. Linebacker Korey Higgins then sealed the win with a fumble recovery with just over five minutes left.
"Our defense stepped up tremendously for us," said Williams, who broke the school record with 336 rushing yards in last week's win over South Elgin. "When our offense was down, they were up. They helped us out so much."
If Higgins sealed the win, Williams put an exclamation point on it. After being held to just 32 rushing yards on six carries in the first half, the senior broke off a pair of 47-yard touchdown runs, both in the last five minutes of the game. He finished with 193 yards and has 529 yards and five touchdowns through two games.
Lyons coach Kurt Weinberg calls him one of the of the best five running backs he's seen in 18 years of coaching.
"I knew coming into the game they were keying in on me," Williams said. "[They had] so many people inside the box, within 10 yards, and it's just a matter of breaking them in, and eventually we did it."
It took a while, though, and Lyons (1-1) stood its ground. After John Wauer's 2-yard touchdown on South's first drive and Leach's 60-yard punt return two minutes later, Lyons' defense held South scoreless for seven straight possessions.
The performance was even more impressive considering safety Will Konstant, a captain, stayed on the sidelines. He injured his ankle last week and dressed on Friday but did not play.
Still, it wasn't enough to overcome an offense that had committed too many penalties, dropped too many passes and made too many poor throws. And lost two fumbles.
Lyons' offense also threatened twice in the second quarter, but one drive stalled at South's 26-yard line and another ended with a lost fumble on a snap inside the 10.
"We just put too much pressure on our defense," Weinberg said. "Our offense wasn't functioning or executing. And credit their defense. They kicked our butts."
South's win could have been even bigger, but a would-be 85-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marco Scalzetti was called back. During the third-quarter play, an official ran into Belskis, who was standing too close to the sideline while trying to protest what he thought was a penalty.
South didn't need the points, though. After losing its first two games in each of the last three seasons, the program is streaking into the conference schedule. And everyone's contributing.
"It's not individuals," Williams said. "We're doing it as a team. Without one another, we just can't do it. You can't win games individually."
Players of the game: Downers Grove South -- RB Josh Williams (Sr.) 19 carries, 193 yards, 2 TDs; DB Danny Leach (Sr.) 60-yard punt return for TD. Lyons -- WR Rennick Thompson (Sr.) 7 catches, 112 yards.
Stat of the game: Williams rushed for 161 of his 193 yards after halftime.
It was over when: Downers Grove South linebacker Korey Higgins recovered a fumble with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Williams' first of two touchdowns gave South a 21-0 lead.
Quote of the night: "It's a team effort," Williams said when asked about his individual performance. "I couldn't care less how many yards I get, how many touchdowns I get. As long as we get a win, that's what's most important."