Big win bolsters Lion Pride
By LPR Staff
Another strong performance by the Lions, this time on the road against the San Antonio Memorial Minutemen, has firmly established Lockhart as a force to be reckoned with within District 27-5A.
Coupling a rapid-fire offense with a rock-solid defense, the Lions made short work of the Minutemen, pound
ing out a 51-20 victory on Friday night, and increasing their current rankings to a tie for first place, early in the season.
The Lions hit the field on fire, with Justin Freeman opening scoring in the first quarter on a strong push from two yards out. The score almost didn’t happen, as the pigskin slipped from Freeman’s grasp; he was able to recover and push the ball over the goal line, and Juan Ocampo followed up by splitting the uprights to put the Lions ahead 7-0.
The defense thwarted the Minutemen’s attempt to put together a drive, and put the offense back on the field just inside the 50-yard line. Stephon Houston found a hole and scampered downfield for a 48-yard touchdown run, and the Lions made the conversion to open their lead to 15.
Back on the field, the defensive line clamped down, forcing a third-and-out, giving the Lions possession at their own 29 as the first quarter wound down.
Seconds into the second quarter, Ellison got clear of the line, and logged an 80-yard touchdown run, which Ocampo followed with another solid kick, broadening the Lions’ lead to 22.
“We scored on our first seven possessions,” said Head Coach Brian Herman. “We’ve been spoiled [so far] with not having to punt this year.”
Yet another punt put the Lions back in control of the ball at their own 5-yard line, with a long field to cover, and a long time to do it.
A three-minute, 95-yard drive capped with Austin Garcia finding his way across the goal line and teaming with Ocampo to put the Lions at the high end of a 29-0 score.
Finally, with 7:09 left in the half, the Minutemen got it right, and their quarterback connected for a touchdown from 18 yards out.
Undaunted, the Lions took possession at their own 40, and made another hole for Ellison to slip through on a 60-yard scamper.
The Minutemen were almost able to answer with another score, but Jeremy Ramirez broke their momentum with an interception at the Lions’ 5, keeping the Minutemen out of the end zone and giving the Lions another chance. The offense capitalized when Logan Brown connected with Garcia from 22 yards out for the Lions’ first and only passing score of the game.
Showing early signs of fatigue, the Lion defense continued to lock down, capitalizing on penalties and big hits to force the Minutemen into a grueling 70-yard drive. Unfortunately, the Minutemen made the most of every opportunity, and were able to put together one more scoring drive to close the half at 43-13.
Opting to receive in the second half, the Lions struck once again, as Ellison pushed the kickoff return to the Lions’ 47, and Houston capped the drive with a 33-yard sprint. Going for the conversion, Nate Natal successfully found his way across the line, and closed the Lions’ scoring at 51 points on the night.
The Minutemen answered right back, with senior wide receiver Gregory Rosemond was able to return the kick 70 yards for a touchdown.
At that point, Herman decided to put in the secondary, and the game slowed, with the remaining time being a full-scale defensive battle.
“I was frustrated that we didn’t execute better with our backups,” Herman said. “But I would have been more concerned if the kids started sloppy and let the game be close throughout. It’s hard to keep the pedal to the floor when you begin playing as many kids as you can.”
The Lions’ biggest test thus far this season comes on Friday night, as the Lions host Alamo Heights (2-2 [1-1]) on the heels of the Mules’ loss to Boerne-Champion last week.
“We actually mixed it up last week with many new wrinkles to give Heights some things to be concerned about,” Herman said. “We still have more that has not been unveiled. Watching three years of film on their defense gives us a good clue as to how to attack the Mules. Defensively, we are very familiar with what they do and it will come down to making plays on the ball.”
Indeed, picked as one of the top five teams in Central Texas by KVUE Sports, the Lions boast two of the region’s top five rushers – Ellison and Houston – according to the Austin American Statesman. Thus far on the season, Houston has logged 718 yards on 45 carries, and Ellison has 685 yards on 68 carries, according to statistics provided by the LHS Athletic Department. If their averages hold, both are likely to break 1,000 yards rushing well before season’s end.
“Our kids are extremely focused in preparing for Heights,” Herman said. “It seems as though they really do believe that they are one of the top teams in the District- as well they should.”
The Lions square off with the Mules at Lion Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, after a special presentation for Old Timers’ Night.