Lions close District play with tough loss
By LPR Staff
A clearly edgy Lion squad closed their regular season on Friday with a heartbreaking loss to the San Marcos Rattlers. Still, the Lions have chosen to look beyond the loss, and embrace their run in the playoffs this coming Saturday.
The Lions shined during the first drive, as senior Shea Brewer pick
ed off an interception on the Rattlers’ first play of the game.
However, as the offense took the field, the Lions’ excited state started to show, with two false-start calls and an off-sides penalty started what became a plague of 16 total penalties on the night.
After the offense turned over on a punt, the Rattlers put together a quick scoring drive, making good on a 59-yard rush for a touchdown with 7:26 on the clock in the first quarter.
The kickoff saw Vincent Nevils returning for 20 yards and giving the Lions possession on their own 25. Another series of penalties kept the Lions from taking the drive to the end zone and forced another punt.
Strong defensive pressure from the Lions’ line ended the Rattlers’ next drive quickly, and the Lions took back over at their own 47. As the clock ticked down, the Lions put together a slow, steady drive that ended, minutes into the second quarter, as senior halfback Curtis Hawkins rumbled across the goal line to give the Lions their first points on the night. Another false start penalty thwarted the Lions’ attempt for the two-point conversion, but Enrique Villegas split the uprights to tie the score at 7.
On their next drive, San Marcos took to the air, capitalizing on not only the strength of their passing game, but a 15-yard penalty against the Lions for pass interference. As hard as the Lions’ defensive line tried to stop the drive at the 1-yard line, a solid touchdown pass and a good kick put the Rattlers back in the driver’s seat, with a 14-7 lead.
“Our mistakes are very fixable,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “…[we] plan some structural practice reorganization that will allow us to focus on details that will make us better [for the bi-district playoff game].”
The Lions appeared to settle down as the first half played on, answering back on the Rattlers’ touchdown with another scoring drive, punctuated by the performance of sophomore running back Stephon Houston, who utilized his blockers to find holes in the Rattlers’ defense, and ultimately found his way to the end zone on a 5-yard rush.
Villegas once again split the uprights to tie the game once again, at 14.
The Rattlers ran the clock down on the half with a 2:30 drive that ended when the Lion defense locked down in the red zone. From first and goal, the Lions pushed the Rattlers back to force an attempt at a field goal kick. Sophomore linebacker Andy Dorado came up good on the block, sending the kick wide and closing scoring for the quarter at 14, all.
The Lions came out of the locker room on fire, as Houston brought the kickoff return back for 47 yards. He, Hawkins and DJ Ellison traded gains over the slow drive, burning the clock down to 8:32 before Hawkins again dove over the defense for a Lion touchdown. Villegas’ point-after attempt was also good, putting the Lions ahead 21-14.
The lead would not last, however, as the Rattlers answered back with a fair catch on the kickoff return, putting them at their own 37-yard line and leading to a quick touchdown and a 21-point tie.
It was then that the Rattlers’ sprang to life, with their defense blocking the Lions out of the end zone for the rest of the night, as the offense stacked up another 14 points before the final buzzer.
Still, as Herman reminded the team after the game, the Rattlers, despite picking up the victory, would be turning in their pads over the weekend, while the Lions had to get right back to work.
“Hundreds of teams are putting up their equipment, and we feel as if our season has just begun,” Herman said. “Everyone is ready to go.”
On Saturday, the Lions will face the District 28-5A runners up, the San Antonio Brackenridge Eagles (7-3, [7-1]) at Rattler Stadium in San Marcos. The Eagles, Herman said, are “accustomed to winning,” and make regular appearances in the playoffs, a culture which Herman, his staff and his team are working toward building in Lockhart.
“Offensively they score a bunch like some of the top teams we have played but competition is all relative,” he said. “Their style of play is somewhat like Kerrville Tivy in that they like to throw the ball and have a solid running back.”
The Lions will be working in practice toward focusing on breaking those scoring drives and strengthening line play on both sides of the ball.
The bi-district playoff game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. Tickets are available through the Lockhart High School Athletic Department at (512) 398-0350.
Prior to the game, Lockhart ISD will host a community pep rally at Lion Field at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14.
(Additional information courtesy of Rob Ortiz)