Lions end roller coaster season with 28-7 loss to Waller
By Alonzo Garza
After a rocky season ultimately led to a playoff bid, the Lions closed post-season play on Friday night with a tough loss to the Waller Bulldogs. Despite a good fight on their part, the Lions closed the 2009 season at El Campo’s Ricebird Stadium on Friday, Nov. 13 with a 28-7 loss.
“I am proud of the way our team represe
nted themselves,” Lion Head Football Coach Robin Rapp said. “Not just Friday, but the two previous weeks in ‘must win’ situations. We were playing our best the past three weeks when we needed to. We are not satisfied with the outcome of the Waller game. Our intentions were to win the game and even though our team competed hard the entire game, we didn’t win.”
The Lions started the game in the unenviable position of defending their turf against a quick, eager Bulldog squad who tried – and succeeded – to gain and keep possession through any means necessary.
The Lions and Bulldogs battled back and forth throughout the first quarter, with neither team being able to close the deal and find the end zone, until the final three minutes.
Waller scored the first of their four touchdowns with 2:48 left in the quarter.
The second started much the same way – with both teams determined to score and both defenses holding the line.
After breaking through the Lion defense on the ground a few times, the Bulldogs earned yardage on a long pass play for first-and-ten at the Lion 23-yard line. Waller pushed forward again, and reached second-and-2 at the Lions’ 15 with 7:42 on the clock.
Sacking the Bulldog quarterback earned Lion Brooks Pittman a penalty flag and ultimately a personal foul. Unshaken, the Bulldogs finished the drive and scored again at 6:44.
With the Bulldogs ahead 14-0, the Lions roared back with carries by quarterback Tyler Tolley and running back Dominique Hardaway.
A Tolley pass to Kendall Till at 2:02 was good for a first-and-10. Hardaway carried the ball to the 12-yard line for a second-and-5 prompting Waller to call a time out at 1:26.
Immediately after the time out, the Bulldogs’ rough side made itself known, as Hardaway was the victim of an intentional facemask penalty.
By 1:12 the Lions were sitting at the 3-yard line with a first and goal. With 47 seconds remaining, Hardaway took a second-and-goal ball from the 1-yard line and scored the only Lion touchdown of the night. Pittman’s extra point kick was good for a score or 7-14 at the end of the first half.
“Waller was able to convert several third and fourth down situations in the second half that were big momentum changers,” Rapp said. “You have to give them credit. They were a talented team.”
The Bulldogs dug in their heels in the second half, earning their third touchdown of the night in the first four minutes of play, and keeping the Lions away from the end zone.
The fourth quarter began with an incomplete pass from Tolley to Hardaway. Still, the Lions maintained possession until 9:04, when a Bulldog intercepted Tolley’s pass for first-and-ten at the 39-yard line. The Lions recovered the fumble only to have flags fly once again as Lockhart picked up another penalty, this time for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Lions started their next drive at the 8-yard line, but the Bulldogs held tight. After advancing to the 24, the Lion kicked at fourth-and-6.
The Bulldogs took over at the 46-yard-line with 6:08 left on the clock. Lion Jacob Alvarez was instrumental in stopping the Bulldogs advance, and eventually the Waller team picked up a 15-yard penalty for an illegal push on the back.
Regaining their composure, the Bulldogs moved the ball forward again, scoring their final touchdown with 32 seconds on the clock, ending the game at 28-7 and bringing the Lions’ 2009 season to a close.
Throughout the course of the rough season, the Lions accomplished a feat not seen in Lockhart since 1959 – making back-to-back appearances in post-season play.
“This Lion team will also be remembered as winners in my book,” Rapp said. “I am awful proud of them and their accomplishments.”
The success can be attributed to the entire team. During the season overall, the offensive line covered a total of 3,262 yards, with 2,015 rushing and 1,296 passing yards good for a total of 224 points scored. The Lions had 296 points scored against them.
Those offensive statistics include the contribution of Hardaway, Tolley, Brian Martinez, Joseph Bell, Kendall Till, Karl Grieger and Kyle Medina.
Again this year, Hardaway led the team in rushing, with 1,307 yards on 231 carries. He also made 15 receptions for 124 yards. He scored 17 of the team’s touchdowns, and completed one pass for 49 yards. Hardaway’s scoring total for the season was 108 points.
Tolley completed 110 out of 197 passes, throwing for 1,247 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. He rushed for 473 yards on 119 carries, and scored two touchdowns, and a total of 20 points.
Bell rushed for 196 yards on 43 carries, and scoring two touchdowns and adding 18 points to his career stats.
Martinez made 50 receptions for 530 yards and four touchdowns. Martinez’ stat sheet shows 24 points for the season.
Till made 28 receptions for 383 yards and one touchdown. Till scored a total of 12 points.
Grieger made 14 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.
Dylan Messerly also contributed six points, while JB Alvarez added two points for the season.
Medina made three receptions good for 43 yards.
Pittman contributed 28 points to the team’s success.