By Kathi Bliss
New District. New season. New attitude.
The Lockhart Lions are back on the gridiron this week, ready to show not only their coaches and their community, but their opponents and – most of all – one another, what Lion Football is all about.
During their first week of two-a-day practices, Head Coach Brian Herman said he has noticed a marked change in his athletes, and that the team is “miles ahead” of where they were last summer.
“We’re seeing a better attitude and a better effort from the kids,” he said. “Plus, we had a full season and off-season with these kids and these coaches, so we’re able to build from those successes, rather than start from Ground Zero like we did last season.”
With a full squad of returning juniors and seniors, Herman said he does not presently intend to bring any sophomores or freshmen to the bench on Friday nights.
“It’s a better plan, to keep the sophomores on JV, and let them develop strong leadership roles there, and get them ready to come up to the Varsity next year,” he said. “Of course, there will always be exceptions, if we get into the season and find that there’s someone on the JV that has more talent and ability than anyone we have in that position on the Varsity, but that’s not our plan right now.”
Bringing up younger talent might not be necessary. Herman said he is excited about the depth the Lions currently have on the Varsity bench; he expects that depth to breed friendly competition on the bench, as the Lions work to earn their place on the starting line.
“Our training theme for this season is ‘Good enough is not good enough,’” he said. “Most of our problems last year came from mental defeat, and this year, the kids want to get a taste of that success that we almost had last year.”
Whether that success is in the cards, is anyone’s guess. With the realignment of the UIL Districts last spring, the Lions still have obstacles, such as known district powerhouse teams such as Kerrville-Tivy (7-5, 5-2) and Alamo Heights (10-4, 5-2), who tied for second place in District play last year. Floresville (8-3, 6-1) is also a dark horse in the running, having tied for second in District last year and falling in the bi-district playoffs. Boerne Champion (7-3, 4-3) and Seguin (3-7, 0-7) he said, could go either way. The true unknowns are the competition with San Antonio Kennedy (7-3, 4-3), San Antonio Memorial (3-7, 1-6) and San Marcos (4-6, 1-4).
“I expect San Marcos to come in strong because they are coming down a division, and that can go either way,” Herman said.
Competition will be heavy in District 27-5A, as teams grapple for position to establish their dominance in the new alignment. Herman hopes that two weeks of scrimmage play and three games before they face the “top-dog” Alamo Heights Mules, will give the Lions time to gain confidence and control as they jump into the District fray.
The Lions will have their first scrimmage against the Cuero Gobblers on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m., and will open regular-season play at home against Austin Reagan High School on Aug. 29.
For a full schedule of the coming season and to meet this year’s Lion squad, see the special “Back to School” magazine inside today’s Post-Register.