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Lions defeat Wildcats 28-26 in fourth quarter thriller

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By Alonzo Garza
POST-REGISTER

The Varsity Lions continue to fight for a spot in the post-season. After losing by one point two weeks in a row, the Lions came out roaring against Elgin, defeating the Wildcats in a fight to the end with a “too close for comfort” score of 28-26.

“This win put us right back into the race,” Head Coach Troy Moses said.

“I am really proud of the way our team is coming together. We played really well for three and a half quarters Friday night. Elgin is a good football team and we controlled the ball and made them play our type of football.”

The Wildcats charged on to the field with a strong start. They began with an onside kick to the Lions and a first-and-10 on the 35-yard line. After a couple of incomplete passes Elgin punted on fourth down.

The Lions took over at 10:25 with at first down on the 9-yard line. After a couple of short gains and being pushed back on a third-and-three, the Lions were forced to punt to the Wildcats at 8:43. By 6:37 Elgin punted back to the Lions.

The Lions had a first-and-10 at the 25-yard line when Dominique Hardaway carried the ball for two yards. At 5:45 Zachary Leija got a first down and at 5:18, a pass from Tyler Tolley to Randy Castillo was good for a first-and-10 at the 29-yard line.

Hardaway carried to a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line and by 4:36 Leija ran in for a touchdown. Michael Pittman’s extra point kick was good for a score of 7-0.
Elgin tried to answer with some points of their own but the Lion defense kept them at bay ending the first quarter at 7-0.

The second quarter was the most productive for the Lions. They scored 14 points while allowing only seven from the Wildcats.

The second began with an Elgin timeout at the top of the quarter. Not much happened and the Lions took over on their own 25-yard line. A timeout for measurement secured the Lions an important first-and-10 on the 36-yard line with 8:34 remaining in the quarter. By 7:20 the Lions made their way to Elgin’s 23-yard line, and at 7:08, Richard Ybarra made a 23-yard touchdown run. Pittman’s kick was good for a 14-0 score.

The Wildcats took a first down on their own 44-yard line with two minutes remaining in the first half. After flags on a third-and-one play, the Wildcats got to add 15 yards for a personal foul against the Lions for a facemask.
Elgin took their first-and-10 at the 30-yard line. After more flags on the play, the penalties were offset and the second down was replayed at 4:40. At 3:43, the officials called a time out for measurements only to find out the following play was fourth-and-inches. Lockhart called a timeout at 3:32 and Elgin had a first-and-10 at 3:28.

The Wildcats moved the ball until Sergio Rodriguez scored a touchdown with an 18-yard run at 3:06. There were flags on the kick attempt against the Lions and it was ruled a re-kick. The second extra point kick was good for a score of 14-7.
Elgin attempted another onside kick and flags flew against them for off sides and interference. The off sides penalty was declined and the interference cost them 15 yards. The Lions took their first down at the Elgin 48-yard line. A false start by the Lions cost them five yards.

At 1:32 Hardaway secured a first-and-10 at the 38-yard line and another first-and-10 at the 28-yard line with 45 seconds to go in the half. Leija was stopped in his tracks during his attempt at a carry, so the Lions called a timeout. Castillo got flagged for a false start giving the Lions a second-and-10 with 27 seconds remaining.

A 22-yard pass to the right from Tolley to Kory Robbins was good for a Lion touchdown with 20 seconds to spare. Pittman’s kick was good for a 21-7 score at the end of the first half of play.
The third quarter remained scoreless for both teams. Each team played hard defense and kept the ball close to the ground. A field goal attempt by Pittman at 2:15 hit the left post and bounced out.

The fourth quarter was the most productive quarter for the Wildcats. Elgin scored 19 points and allowed only seven points from the Lions.

The Lions scored their last touchdown of the night at the top of the fourth with a three-play drive. They started at the 40-yard line with Hardaway breaking away at 11:48 for a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Leija carried the ball to the 5-yard line for a second-and-goal at 11:22 and Robbins rushed in for the touchdown at 11:08 making the score 28-7.

Unfortunately, the Wildcats were not done playing football. Elgin took the ball at their own 39-yard line. A long pass was almost intercepted by John Alvarez, but Elgin continued to keep the ball in the air. Elgin made it to the Lion 28-yard line for a first-and-10, but was penalized for being off sides so they took first-and-15 at 10:22. A pass to the left of the field was incomplete for a second-and-15 at 10:16.

By 9:32, the Wildcats made it to the Lion 17-yard line with a fourth-and-15 to go. A 15-yard penalty against the Lions for a sideline warning on the coaches put Elgin at the 2-yard line at 9:24 and by 9:19 Elgin scored their second touchdown of the night with a 3-yard run by Kevin Weaver. A bad snap put the score at 28-13.

The Wildcats scored again at 7:16 with a 29-yard fumble return by Stevie Haywood. The kick was no good for a score of 28-19. With two minutes remaining in the game, Elgin had a second-and-eight at midfield. A third-and-one pass was incomplete. At 1:34 Elgin had a fourth-and-two and a second-and-three at 1:19.

By 1:08, Elgin was at a fourth-and-four when their quarterback secured a first-and-10 at the Lion 23-yard line. The first pass was incomplete for a second-and-two with 44 seconds remaining. Elgin took a time out with 34 seconds on the clock and at 20 seconds remaining scored the last touchdown of the game with a 12-yard run by Tyler Swenson. The kick was good for a final score of 28-26 and 14 seconds left to play.

Elgin attempted their third onside kick of the night, only to have Robbins pick it up at the 48-yard line for a final Lion first-and-10. The Lions ran out the clock.

“The coaching staff is very excited about the upcoming weeks,” Moses said. “We have a much improved Lehman team this week and a very talented Manor team next week. It is going to be interesting to see where we end up in the district. We are going to focus on Lehman this week and see what happens throughout the district. We are still in control of our own destiny.”

Hardaway ran for 124 yards with 20 carries. Ybarra ran for 69 yards with eight and Leija ran for 27 yards with 13. Elgin had 15 first downs and Lockhart had 18. The Wildcats rushed 40 times for a total of 192 yards while the Lions rushed 47 times for 250 yards. Elgin had eight penalties costing them 95 yards while Lockhart only had four at a loss of 40 yards.

“The community support has been awesome,” Moses said. “Everybody in our program is really seeing a great deal of support. The excitement for Lockhart football is everywhere. With our Varsity overall record at 20-4 and our district record at 5-3, the JV at 7-1 and the Freshmen at 8-0, the community has done a great job of supporting our athletes. Not only the present, but the future of Lockhart football is bright.”

The Lions will host the Lehman Lobos at Lion Field for their Homecoming game on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

See you at the game.
agarza@post-register.com

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