Lions keep even, but fall to Heights
By LPR Staff and Rob Ortiz
Continuing to develop a commanding presence while struggling with self-inflicted wounds, the Lions came up short in a well-matched standoff with their rival Alamo Heights Mules on Friday night.
The first quarter was a battle of defensive wills. Electing to receive, the Mules made a long, slow drive into Lion territory, but their chance was thwarted when Brandon Finger picked off an interception at the Lions’ 20-yard line.
The Lions pushed back, but were set sideways by a series of procedural penalties, and eventually forced to punt.
On their second drive, the Mules made good ground on their own, and were helped by additional Lion penalties, allowing them to push into scoring position as the first quarter ended.
Eight seconds into the second, the Mules found the endzone to take a 6-0 lead. A bobbled snap on the point-after attempt meant the Lions were able to keep the Mules from converting.
The Lion offense was held back once again by the Mules, but the Lion defense was ready for action. Trival Joseph picked off another interception near the Lions’ 40, and made a huge return, putting the Lions in the red zone at the Alamo Heights 18-yard line.
Austin Garcia led the charge on three carries, powering the ball into the end zone, and Juan Ocampo easily made the kick to put the Lions up 7-6 with 7:27 left in the half.
The Mules answered once again, using less than five minutes to find their way back to pay dirt. This time, although the snap was bobbled once again, a successful pass completed the conversion and put Alamo Heights on top, 14-7.
On the ensuing drive, the Lions made good time and gained ground, but ran out of time as the buzzer sounded to close the half.
After the break, the Lion offense took the field ready to work. Capitalizing on a slow push, with help from a 15-yard penalty against Alamo Heights for Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the Lions put together a successful drive to tie the game at 14.
The Lion defense held strong during the Mules’ next drive, twice driving them away from the goal line, before finally faltering under the weight of a series of flags against the Lions.
However, the Mules bobbled the snap again and failed to convert for a 20-14 lead with 3:06 left in the quarter.
The Lions answered immediately, capping a drive from the Lions’ 29-yard line with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Garcia. Ocampo’s kick put the Lions back in the lead at 21-20.
Alamo Heights then burned most of the fourth quarter on a slow touchdown drive, and made a good pass for the two-point conversion for a 28-20 lead.
With 5:42 on the clock, the Lion offense made an attempt at going for the tie, but a series of offensive missteps, including a fumble for a loss, and a questionable pass-interference call ran the clock down, and the Lions finally ran out of time, turning over on downs with less than 30 seconds on the clock.
“We can always find negatives and positives from every film, win or lose,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “Early our defense played well and our offense sputtered. Later in the game the roles reversed. We need to put both sides together in order to win tight contests like last Friday.”
Additionally, Herman noted, penalties were costly to the Lions, not necessarily in the nature or number, but in the timing of those penalties.
The Lions will travel to Castroville on Friday night to take on the Medina Valley Panthers. Traditionally a win for the Lions, the Panthers have given a surprising performance this season, shocking the District with a Week One victory over Boerne-Champion. The Panthers are currently 3-1, having fallen to Kerrville Tivy.
With only three games left on the season, the Lions have little chance of a playoff berth, but Herman still holds hope the team will achieve some of their goals.
“The challenge we face at this point is what type of character do we have? Do we have a bunch with enough pride to win out and finish the season on a positive note? Or, do we have a group that sees no value in wins at this point and will just go through the motions?” Herman said. “I challenged the Seniors to show their leadership and finish out strong. The coaches can’t be solely responsible for the energy and preparation for victory. The boys have to want it more than anyone else.”
Panther Stadium is located at 8449 FM 471 S, Castroville, Texas, 78002. Kickoff is slated at 7:30 p.m.