By Kathi Bliss
Staring down the barrel of the start of District play next week, the Lions picked up momentum after their nailbiter victory over Crockett on Sept.4 by delivering an iron-fisted blow to the Cedar Creek Eagles last Friday night. In a game that saw every uninjured member of the Varsity lineup get playing time, the Lions earned a crushing 64-13 victory.
To start the night, the Lions made an 80-yard drive that ended with Curtis Hawkins finding the end zone on a one-yard charge up the middle. Jordon Johnson followed up Hawkins’ touchdown with a good kick, putting the Lions ahead 7-0.
The Lions’ next possession looked like déjà vu, as Lockhart once again tramped more than 80 yards up the field and Hawkins found the end zone, with Eagle defenders in tow. Another solid kick from Johnson put the Lions up 14-0 and closed the first quarter.
Early moments of the second quarter looked like essentially the same scene on “repeat,” with Hawkins scoring twice more, and Johnson making good on one more kick.
With five minutes left in the half, the Eagles put themselves into scoring position for the first time in the game. However, as Cedar Creek moved deeper into Lockhart territory, Victor Sanchez plucked an interception and saved the score.
On the next play, however, a fumble cost the Lions a turnover and gave Cedar Creek the ball on their own 2-yard line.
Providing what was one of few moments of true tension, rather than victorious excitement, the Lions were able to hold the line as the Eagles struggled for their first score.
Instead, the Lions slipped past Cedar Creek’s blockers, making a tackle in the end zone and putting a safety on the board.
Before the end of the half, Oscar Diaz stepped into the scoring action, putting the first of three touchdowns of his own on the board.
An exhilarated Lion squad left the field for halftime on the top end of a 36-0 score.
A pep talk delivered by Cedar Creek Coach Dan Hernandez in the locker room was apparently effective, as the Eagles came charging out after the half, finally putting their first points on the board after only a few minutes of play.
The Lions answered right back, though, with a big kick return from sophomore DJ Ellison, which put the Lions into Cedar Creek territory, and a 38-yard scamper from Diaz for his second touchdown of the night.
And then he made his third, while Cedar Creek seemed to have no answer for the Lions’ offense, and no power against the defense.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions interrupted another potential scoring drive with an interception, this time as Ellison snagged the ball to put the Lions into scoring position once again.
Marcus Johnson took his turn in the end zone on an 18-yard run.
Finally, the Eagles were able to put together a second successful scoring drive, but missed an attempt at a two-point conversion, and the Lions answered back one more time, when Tim Sedwick charged off on a 29-yard sprint for the Lions’ final touchdown.
Johnson put up one more kick, and the Lions burned down the clock for a 64-13 win.
As a mark of respect after the crushing defeat, though, Head Coach Brian Herman encouraged his team to stand and pay respect to Cedar Creek’s school song, before breaking for the night to celebrate with their friends and families.
A change in the team’s priorities was responsible for the difference between the one-point win over Crockett and the skinning of the Eagles.
“They responded to the start fast and finish strong theme of the week,” he said. “The boys wanted to show that they could play a complete game 48 minutes of full throttle football.”
Prove it they did, as they stacked up 627 yards and 20 first downs, despite losing 85 yards to penalties.
“Many of the penalties came late in the game after the outcome was clear and there were a mix of kids on the field that don’t always play together,” Herman said. “Also, many of the penalty yards came from physical play and weren’t so much mental errors. We will always focus on eliminating the mental errors and understand that in a fast moving game that there will be penalties that occur and that some are just part of the game. Sometimes when a kid goes to make a tackle his hand will unintentionally touch the facemask and the officials may throw a flag.”
The Lions have a bye this week, before hosting the Seguin Matadors for Homecoming on Sept. 27.
“Open weeks can be a blessing or a curse,” Herman said. “In our case it could be seen as both. We clearly need to get some of the boys well, so in that case it is a blessing. The challenge of the next two weeks is riding that momentum from a big win.”
Last year when they played Seguin, inclement weather and repeated fumbles cost the Lions dearly, when they lost the game 38-12. So far this season, the Matadors are 3-0, with victories over Crockett (55-27), New Braunfels (38-31) and Del Valle (35-34).
The Lions kick off at 7:30 p.m., and Homecoming activities will be hosted before the game, and during halftime.