Features | Friday Night Drive

Woodstock’s Jackson Lyons prepared to take over at quarterback

Woodstock quarterback Jackson Lyons during a 7 on 7 football practice held on Thursday, July 21, 2022 at Crystal Lake Central High School. Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

Jackson Lyons has been through it all to prepare himself to become the next starting quarterback for Woodstock.

The Blue Streaks senior has played different positions on both sides of the ball to better understand the game, and now he is prepared to show off what he has learned.

“I think he’s learned quite a bit,” Woodstock coach Mike Brasile said. “I think he’s ready to go his senior year.”

Lyons will take over at quarterback after Liam Mickle graduated. Mickle threw for 1,641 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions last season. This is the second time Lyons will be replacing Mickle at the position after taking over as the JV starter when Mickle was promoted to the varsity roster.

Woodstock will feature a run-heavy offense this season with an experienced offensive line. The Blue Streaks averaged 19.7 points a game last season and scored 14 points or fewer four times.

The Streaks will feature a talented wide receiver corps, led by Caden Monti, who finished last season with 595 receiving yards and four touchdowns, and newcomer Spencer Cullum. Kaden Sandoval and Adrian Perry will provide experience at running back. Perry rushed for 287 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Lyons has played all three different wide receiver positions for the Streaks and also earned snaps at tight end, which he thinks will help him excel at quarterback. Lyons believes a quarterback needs to learn every position on the field and learn what every player will do on every play in order to be successful.

“That’s the biggest thing that’s helped me,” Lyons said of playing the different receiver positions. “If I didn’t have that, I don’t know. I see the routes a lot better in my head because I’ve actually run them. It just flows way better in my head now that I had that experience.”

Lyons also spent time at safety last season, which he thinks will help him read defenses when he stands behind center this season. Many of the teams in the Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 White play a similar style of defense to Woodstock. The quarterback will be familiar with the type of coverages that opponents will throw at the Streaks and will be able to spot a blitz package and call an audible.

“That helps a lot, too, because a lot of teams are run heavy, a lot of defenses aren’t that different,” Lyons said. “Seeing that in practice and getting a lot of good reps in that has helped a lot.”

Lyons is still learning and going through bumps as he and the Streaks prepare for the season. He’s appreciated the help he has received from both Brasile and Mickle, and with all of his experiences, he is ready to take the lead.

“Right now,” Lyons said, “I feel really good.”