Lions dig in as season winds down
Lions v. Elgin
The Lockhart Lion boy”s varsity soccer team hosted the Elgin Wildcats in district play last Tuesday. In a previous match-up, the squads tied 2-2 in a very exciting game. Tuesday night was also Senior Night, and the seniors and their loved ones were honored before the contest. Our seniors are: Max Gainey, Christyan Gutierrez, Seth Guckian, Cody Fehlis
, David Moore, Alex Pfefferkorn, Dusty “Moose” Pittman, and Daniel “Wednesday” Chavez.
“This is a big game for us,” Coach Antoun told the squad before the game. “We haven”t beaten Elgin in six years, and it”s Senior Night. Let”s get one for the Class of “07.”
The game began with both teams playing physical. The Lions were able to assert themselves early in the contest, and five minutes in it paid off. The Lions earned a throw-in deep in Wildcat territory, and David Moore put a long throw to goal which was flicked to the back post by Alex Pfefferkorn. Matthew Carneiro finished the well executed play with a low drive into the net. As the half continued Elgin did find their pace, but the Lion defense held their ground and challenged for every ball. With only six minutes to go until halftime, the Wildcats earned a throw-in. The long throw was right on target, and an Elgin forward one-timed the shot into the back of the Lion goal. The half ended in a 1-1 tie.
“Good half men,” Antoun told them. “We”ve given ourselves a chance with our good play. Let”s win this half, and we”ll win the game.”
The Lions started the second half with instant offense. Only two minutes in the Lions took the lead. Seth Guckian put a long throw into Carneiro, who came up with a one-timer of his own and drilled the ball into the back of the net. But this lead would not last. Six minutes later Elgin found the equalizer, this time with a nice cross and finish from the left side, but the scoring was far from over. Both teams did well in possessing the ball and finding chances, and with 17 minutes left the Lions took the lead again. Cameron Peters put a great corner into the box, and Pfefferkorn headed the ball home for a 3-2 lead. One minute later the Lions would extend the lead with some hard work and a little luck. The Lions earned another corner, and Peters once again put a great ball on target. This time, an Elgin defender headed it home by accident, giving the Lions a 4-2 advantage. From there the game would even out, and as the half wound down the Wildcats pushed into the attack. With three minutes left Elgin closed the margin with another goal, but the Lions hung on to their slim lead the rest of the way. The game ended with a 4-3 Lion victory.
“Great team win!” Antoun told the squad after the game. “Everybody played well, and played well together. This is exactly the game we needed going into Hays on Friday. Seniors, we finally got Elgin!”
Lions v. Hays
Fresh from defeating Elgin, the Lions traveled to Hays on Friday for their second district match-up with the Rebels. In the first match, Hays defeated the Lions 2-0.
“We have been looking at this game for a while,” commented Coach Antoun. “I know you all want your chance to play better against these guys.”
The game began at a furious pace. The turf field always makes the game seem faster, and the Lions were very well prepared. The Lions did perhaps their best job of the season in moving without the ball and executing good passes. There were scoring chances, but the Hays defense, keeper, or the post stepped up on every occasion to make the save. The Rebels had chances also, but the Lion defense was rock solid. Cody Fehlis, Gabe Atwell, and Bobby Henrikson did very well, as did Christyan Gutierrez and Jose Gonzales, who were splitting time while filling in for an injured Robbie Clifton. Most Rebel shots never got to the goal because of the Lion defense blocking them with feet, chests, or any other available body part.As the first half wound down, the Lions made one more final push at goal. Despite hard work and intelligent play, the first half ended in a scoreless draw.
“Our defense has never played this good!” Antoun cheered the team during the break. “Keep it up! Offensively we”re ok. Let”s try to keep our wings as wide as possible on the attack, and use those guys. They are open a lot.”
The second half began with Hays on the attack and the Lions playing good defense. After absorbing the initial wave, the Lions were able to find their offense, thanks in large part to the gritty and crafty play of Jorge Guerrero. However, for the most part, it was a defensive half for the Lions, and again many shots never got to goal because of a defense willing to step in front of shots. With the Lions looking to defend and counter attack, Hays was caught out of position on defense a couple of times, but the Lions could not capitalize. One shot hit the crossbar, and another sailed just wide of a wide-open goal. Another volley was blasted by Guerrero, only to sail just inches above the goal. With eight minutes left, Hays found the net. A cross from the left sailed over everyone, and a Hays forward tracked down the bouncing ball and volleyed a shot to the backside of the goal. The ball hit the post and bounced in for a 1-0 lead. At that point, everyone thought the game was over – except the players. Two minutes later the Lions showed what they were made of. Midfielder Cameron Peters worked out a nifty move on a Hays defender and thread the needle with a perfect pass to a streaking David Moore. Moore made good, blasting a screamer past the Rebel keeper and into the net. The game ended without further scoring, and the Lions earned a 1-1 tie.
“I am so proud of you all,” Antoun said after the game. “You kept your cool in a physical game. You did not hang your heads when Hays scored. You proved yourselves tonight, and you came up with a goal under pressure when it mattered most. We”re playing very well right now. Congrats, and we”ll see you Monday.”
The Lions were scheduled to finish their district schedule this week, hosting Del Valle on Tuesday before traveling to Connally on Friday. However, the Del Valle game was postponed due to rainy weather.
The Lions are currently 5-5-4 in district play and 5-8-4 overall.
(Courtesy of Ramez Antoun)