Photos by Catherine Goce
If you have been paying attention to McMaster football over the last year, the name Jordan Lyons surely rings a bell. The fourth-year running back first started playing football fairly young when he saw his twin brother Justin play.
The two grew up and continued to play the sport all the way to the university level until Justin suffered from a back injury two years ago. At first, having to play without his brother was a weird adjustment for the running back.
“We were literally hip to hip all the way through elementary school, high school and even university, so that was a little bit of a change,” Jordan said. “But he’s doing his own thing now. He’s actually into modeling.”
As one Lyons brother chose the runway, the other continued to perfect his game on the field. It was during last year’s Homecoming where he brought in one touchdown with an impressive 186 yards on 25 carries for the Marauders in a triumphant 32-2 win over the York University Lions. This was the second time in Lyons’ career that he had broken 100 rushing yards, and at the time was a career high.
During the Ontario University Athletics quarter-finals last year, Lyons fell just short of setting a new Marauders team record for yards in a game, 344, set by Jesse Lumsden in 2004. He carried the ball 39 times for 319 yards which helped the Marauders advance to the semifinal game. Though after losing to the Wilfred Laurier University Golden Hawks, Lyons and the Marauders suffered more than just a playoff loss: they lost several key veteran players.
Their absence is definitely noticeable as the Marauders now sit 1-2 after a crushing 44-6 loss against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs. Lyons, on the other hand, has been a light in the darkness.
Against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, he ran for 168 yards on 24 carries and had two receptions for 22 yards, for a total of 190 yards, which made up more than half of Mac’s total yardage. While he was unable to find much room to run against the Mustangs’ all-star defence, as he was only unable to gain 21 yards on 10 carries, he did find success as the Marauders’ leading receiver with four catches for 65 yards.
For Lyons, this was not always the case. Like most freshman, he had to wait his turn as a fellow Burlington running back finished what he came to Mac to do. Lyons had watched Chris Pezzetta develop as a player and learned from him for several years in Burlington and then continued to do so at Mac until he graduated.
“Coming in with [Chris Pezzetta] leaving was just a big opportunity that I tried to take advantage of,” said Lyons.
And that he did, immediately making an impact and breaking records to prove it, the running back still did not crack under the pressure.
“I didn’t see it as pressure. I just see it as coming out and playing my hardest and hopefully we can win,” said Lyons. “It’s really about the team and winning and that’s all I care about. The records come with whatever happens in the game, but what happens on the field, if we win or lose, is the most important thing.”
With his eyes on his lifelong dream of making it to the Canadian Football League, winning is part of the reason he chose McMaster.
“I knew a lot of people at the Mac program have done well here and in the CFL,” said Lyons.
Like he does on the field, Lyons does not allow the pressure of ‘making it’ to have too much of a toll on him.
“Whenever it comes, it comes,” Lyons said. “That’s just my dream so if it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
Beyond football, the labour studies student hopes to take the team atmosphere that he learned as a Marauder and that into the business and/or the human resources world.
Although Lyons may have what it takes, the rest of the Marauders’ offence continues to struggle against tough competition at the beginning of the 2018 season. Looking forward to an early Homecoming to draw as much support as possible to break the losing streak. Lyons pointed out that earlier Homecoming makes it easier for McMaster students to come out and support.
“I think when you see the fans very enthusiastic about the game it definitely helps out with the atmosphere,” said Lyons. “Before the actual game, guys are just so excited about Homecoming because it’s just a fun game to play in.”
With Lyon’s leading the way, a fun game it should be.