With their playoff shot riding on the outcome of Friday night’s game, the Lions rode to Kerrville last week with hearts full of hope and bellies full of fire. After spending much of their season startling District 27-4A, the Lions had one more hurdle to overcome to keep their playoff dreams – and their season alive… The Kerrville Tivy Antlers.
Coming to the field as the confirmed favorites, the Antlers opened by scoring on their first play of the game, with mere seconds ticked off the clock.
Nearly unfazed, the Lions took possession and marched methodically up the field, falling short of the end zone, but instead opting for a 33-yard field goal kick from Jordan Johnson, at least putting the Lions on the board.
Lockhart’s defense kept the Antlers out of the end zone for the rest of the first quarter, while Levi Mair found his way across the line with just less than two minutes on the clock. Another solid kick from Johnson put the Lions ahead 10-7 and set the tone for the next two quarters of play.
Tivy opened the second quarter with another quick touchdown, and then scored again on their next offensive drive, putting the Antlers ahead 21-10. But the Lions were not about to go down with out a fight – and what a fight they gave.
After another slow, steady downfield drive, Marcus Rodriguez hit pay dirt on a 6-yard rush, and Johnson made good once again, putting the Lions squarely in the game at 21-17.
Tivy answered with another touchdown, but the Lions remained calm and collected, bracing themselves for yet another steady march, and another Rodriguez touchdown.
The first half closed with the Antlers gripping tight to a 28-24 lead.
Notably, by the end of the first half, the Lions had scored more points against the Antlers than any other team in the District except for the Alamo Heights Mules, who delivered Tivy their only District loss this season. If the Antlers thought they were going to score an easy victory over the Lions to close out their season, they had been proven wrong.
After the halftime show, the Antlers scored again, but the Lions answered right back as Rodriguez once again made his way to the end zone on a 5-yard rush.
Unfortunately, the signs of exhaustion were starting to show; after a two-hour bus ride and a brutal first half, the Lions were beginning to wear down.
Tivy scored again before the end of the third, and opened the fourth quarter ahead
The Lions tried to hang on in the fourth, but the Antlers scored three unanswered touchdowns before the Lions were able to find their way back across the goal line, with Rodriguez rushing for a 3-yard touchdown, and Johnson’s kick scoring Lockhart’s final point of the game.
The lopsided 62-38 score, however, does little to explain the power the Lions displayed throughout the game, however. Lockhart matched the Antlers nearly yard-for-yard, gaining 483 yards over the course of the night, over Tivy’s 482. More than that, the Lions earned 24 first downs to Kerrville’s 20, and scored more points against the Antler defense than any other team this season.
At the end of the night, though, it simply wasn’t enough, and the clock wound down not only on the game, but on the Lions’ strongest season in years.
Over the course of the banner season, the Lions put up two rushers, CJ McKinney and Curtis Hawkins, who each earned more than 1,000 yards. On 126 carries, McKinney gained 1,110 yards, while Hawkins earned 1,004 on 147 carries. The Lions’ final point tally was 324-307, and they closed their season with a 6-4 (3-4) record.
And although the season ended tearfully and sooner than they had hoped – particularly for the Lion seniors, it brought with it more than a few good games. The season brought with it an attitude of success, a feeling of family, and a true culture of winning.