Lions fall in playoff opener
The Lockhart Lions varsity football team fell 24-10 to the Weiss High School Wolves in the first round of the playoffs Friday night.
The loss marked the end of Head Coach and district Athletic Director Todd Moebes’ first season on the job, which saw the Lion’s make the post-season for the first time since 2015.
Despite the loss, Moebes said he had plenty to be proud of concerning his team.
“I told them I was proud of them,” said Moebes. “They did a lot of great things and they were able to set a high level of expectations, which was good.
“The fact that they showed a great and genuine care about the football program, our school and each other was a great thing to see.”
The Lions got on the board first late in the first half after senior wide receiver Jayden Garza brought in a pass from junior quarterback Jackie Edwards Jr., giving the Lions an early 7-0 lead.
The two sides would trade possessions several times before the wolves eventually found the end zone at the end of the half, leveling the contest 7-7.
The wolves received the ball to start the first half and wasted little time marching down the field. The lion defense would make a strong stand in the red zone, holding Weiss to a field goal, giving the Wolves a 10-7 lead.
The lions put together a string of first downs on the following drive, but a fumble from senior running back Daetron Ellison gave the wolves the ball back with 80 yards in front of them.
A three-and-out gave the Lions the ball back on the 50-yard line. Lockhart would again march down the field within the red zone, but a pass from Edwards Jr. that was forced into a tight window was picked off and return 91 yards for a Weiss touchdown, giving the Wolves a 17-7 lead.
The Lion offense responded quickly with a deep pass to Jayden Garza that was hauled in for a 40-yard touchdown to bring the score to 17-14.
The Wolves had a chance to ice the game as they pushed the ball to the 2-yard line, but a crucial stop on fourth down gave the lions the ball back with 2:35 left to play.
The ensuing drive would only last two plays, however, as the Wolves intercepted the ball and returned it for another pick-six with 2 minutes left to play, giving them a 24-14 lead that wouldn’t be surmounted.
Hugs and tears then filled the sideline and bleachers as players and fans acknowledged the end of the Lions’ season. Coaches consoled players. Players consoled each other. Fans embraced one another as tears fell down their cheeks.
Despite the loss, Moebes said he still felt like his team performed well during his first year on the job.
“Obviously I have very high expectations, but I felt like we moved in the right direction,” said Moebes. “I think we grew and learned a lot.
“I’m very proud of our kids. They bought into a brand-new direction. They could have resisted. It could have taken a lot longer to get the point that we did get to.”
Moebes said his returning players will next focus on the offseason, where they’re sure to partake in plenty of strength and conditioning exercises, in addition to individual drills.
“We’re constantly evaluating and trying to find ways to get better and improve,” he said.