Returning as rivals
Lions gear up to face
Bastrop Bears in first-ever Alumni Game
By LPR Staff
Nearly 40 Lockhart Lions will don cleats, pads and helmets this weekend to revive a rivalry generations in the making. They will be playing for fun. They will be playing for exercise. They will be playing for pride.
For two months, a group of Lion alumni, ranging in ag
es from 19 – 40, have gathered for practices and training, and on Saturday, they will put the past to the test when they travel to Bastrop to take on the Bastrop Bears alumni team in a friendly, if feisty, game organized by Alumni Football USA.
“The team seems to have molded well,” said linebacker Rodney Rodriguez (Class of ’89), one of two 80s-era graduates who rank as the “old men” on the team. “The offense seems to be smooth and efficient and the defense is just a beast!”
Rodriguez, a Round Rock resident who still does PA announcing and follows football, played for the Lions at the height of the Lockhart-Bastrop rivalry, when the competition was so fierce between the two teams that police escorts were required to follow the teams to and from their games.
Although no one expects Saturday’s rivalry to rise to that level, fun and friendly competition are in high supply. In fact, according to team co-captain Rob Ortiz, several former cheerleaders have made plans to attend and show their support for the Lions, and the team seems to be in fine form.
“I’ve spent a lot of the time coaching and putting together plays,” Ortiz said. “That might affect my playing time – but I plan on getting a few good snaps in.”
Statistics provided by a member of the Bastrop Bears’ alumni team suggest that the pairing has been evenly matched throughout history, playing each year from 1972-2003. Lockhart’s win rate during that time was 14-15-1, with one game, in 1991, having been forfeit by the Bears. The last Lion victory over the Bears, he said, was in 1999.
Lockhart’s roster, though it includes several members of the Class of 2009 and the Class of 2010, is heavy on players from the 90s, the height of the rivalry between the two schools.
The Lions’ roster includes: Ryan Houston (2009); Ricky Rodriguez (2009); Rene Pompa (1997); John Henry Alvarez (2009); Kyle Medina (2010); Joe Ramirez (1999); J.R. Krcmar (2000); David Adams (1988); T.J. Terrazas; Adam Renteria; Travis Morgan; Junior Gutierrez; Rosario Rodriguez (2002); Thomas Dunn (2003); Randall Mendoza (1997); Joe Martinez (1996); Jim Hughes (2003); Rodney Rodriguez (1989); Eddie Vasquez (2000); Jaye Wells; Gerald Cuellar; Bobby Tapia (2001); Greg Sanchez (2003); Marcos Mendoza (1998); Joe Mercado (1991); Daniel Cuellar (1997); Derek Evans (2001); Ross Alexander (2001); Mark Gomez (1999); Billy Urias (1997); Carl Thomas (1999); Damien Salinas; Larry Maciel (1999); John Pulliam (1997); Esabel Prieto (1994); Casey Keller (2001); John Ramirez (1998); Chris Ybarra (2009); Hans Schell (1998); and Rob Ortiz (1998).
Notably, David Adams, a personal trainer from Miramar, Fla., and Class of 1989 graduate, has committed to flying in to Central Texas for this weekend’s event.
Potentially harsh weather conditions expected on Saturday will make the game still more a test of the teams’ mettle, proving it to be ultimately a game of not only talent, but of passion, drive and the will to win. Temperatures are expected to hover in the low 50s on Saturday evening, with a 40 percent chance of showers before kickoff.
This year’s game, scheduled in Bastrop, is expected to be the start of a tradition, Ortiz said. The Lions plan to keep the rivalry going, up to and including purchasing equipment and jerseys for the Lion Alumni team. Lockhart ISD Athletic Director Melinda Kirst confirmed she has been approached about hosting the game next year at Lion Stadium.
In the meantime, die-hard Lion fans are being asked to take the short trip to Bastrop’s Erhard Field, at 1590 Hill St., in Bastrop. Admission for the game is $8 for anyone 11-up, and free for 10 and under. Proceeds from the gate and concession sales will be used to support Bastrop ISD athletic programs. Kickoff is slated at 7 p.m.
From Lockhart, follow FM 20E to Highway 71. Take a right on Highway 71, and follow into Bastrop to Cedar Street. Take a left on Cedar, and the third left, on Hill Street.