Race to Play-offs – Lions find new competition
By Teri Normandin
Is experience the key to winning games, making play-offs, or becoming state champions? This is the big question for the newly appointed District 26-4A in the 2006-2007 season.
In District 26-4A, competition is fierce for Lockhart with high caliber schools like Hays Consolidated, New Braunfels, New Braunfels Canyon, Schertz
Clemens, Schertz Steele, Del Valle, and Kyle Lehman.
Lockhart faces a tough district for the upcoming race to play-offs with two teams dropping from Class 5-A to 4-A. Hays Consolidated and Schertz Clemens were previously competing in the higher division with winning records that took them to play-offs.
The Hays Consolidated Rebels football team held a 10-2 record and the Bi-District title with a victory against Round Rock in play-offs, but fell short to Lufkin in the Class 5-A Area game. Their strong football program is led by Head Coach Robert “Bob” Shelton, who began coaching the Rebels for the birth of the program in 1967. Coach Shelton is looking for his 300th win as the Rebels’ head coach. He currently has a winning record of 299-168-7 at Hays Consolidated with his team qualifying for play-offs in eight of the past 10 years. For the 2006 season, the Rebels will have three returning starters on the field, one offensive and two defensive.
The Schertz Clemens Buffaloes football team maintained a 10-1 record in the 2005 District 25-5A season, and claimed the district title. The Buffaloes competed in the Bi-District play-off game, but was knocked out by San Antonio Madison. This year the Buffaloes will have three defensive starters returning including Tyrell Higgins, 2005 Central Texas Defensive Player of the Year, but will need to build a strong offense with no returning starters. Last year the Buffaloes lost 20 starters to graduation.
The Lions will compete against the Del Valle Cardinals in district again this year. In 2005, the Cardinals defeated the Lions 27-14 keeping Lockhart scoreless well into the third quarter. Del Valle finished their season with a 2-8 season record; however, experience is in the Cardinals’ favor as Head Coach Chip Mayfield will have 17 returning starters in his in his pocket this year.
New Braunfels Canyon High School watched their Cougar football team travel to the 2005 Class 4-A State Quarterfinals led by Head Coach Les Davis, a former Lockhart football coach. In play-offs, the Cougars defeated Kerrville Tivy, Austin LBJ, and Austin McCallum giving them an overall record of 12-2. Coach Davis welcomes back the core of his football program from last year including running back Chase Wilke, who earned All-Central Texas honors with over 1,900 yards and 26 touchdowns. Also returning to the field for Canyon is seniors Jaimin Shah, Brian Hildago, Reece Zuniker, and Bernie Gutierrez. All four seniors received All-District honors the previous year.
The Cougars neighboring school, the New Braunfels Unicorns finished their 2005 season with a 4-7 overall record that took them to the Bi-District game where they lost to Boerne. The Unicorns will have familiarity on their side of the field with 13 returning starters, seven offensive and six defensive. New Braunfels will showcase strong offensive and defensive lines as six of their returning players earned All-District honors last year. Senior wide-receiver Kurtis Kostan led the Unicorns’ offense his junior year as his surpassed the 1,000 yard marker and earned All-District honors.
To test if experience is key to a successful football program, two new schools arise for their first year competing in varsity football. Kyle Lehman and Schertz Steele will face-off against District 26-4A rivals for their first ever varsity season. The Lehman Lobos will be led by Head Coach Steve Davis, and the Steele Knights will be led by Head Coach Michael Jinks.
The Lockhart Lions will be led by Head Coach Les Goad for the upcoming district race. Last year was Goad’s first year at Lockhart High School, and the Lions ended the season with a 4-6 overall record. There will be six returning starters for the Lions, two offensive and four defensive. Seniors Ira Woolridge and David Moore earned All-District selections for Lockhart in 2005.
The Lions will host La Grange for their opening game of the season at Lion Stadium on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The seniors will be recognizing their families for Parent’s Night.