By Alonzo Garza
After getting off to a rough start against the Cuero Gobblers on the road, two weeks ago and a respectable scrimmage against the Luling Eagles at Lion Stadium on Aug. 21, the Lions will take on the La Grange Leopards in their first game of the 2009 season at Lion Stadium on Friday, Aug. 28.
Fine tuning to the Lions’ performance will be in order if they hope to repeat last season’s success.
“We did not prepare for Cuero like a game,” Rapp said at the first Lockhart Football Lunch meeting on Thursday, Aug. 20., when he indicated the Lions faced an offensive challenge from the Gobblers.
“We learned a lot and we are dealing with the adjustments we needed to do. We have 10 new guys on offense. This year we are working on more of a shotgun formation so we are trying to work on that. We will still run the ball… and maybe pass more this year. We hope to throw the ball 10 to 15 times a game. If defense is packed in nine or more we will throw the ball. We will not be happy if we don’t control our passing game.”
The scrimmage against Luling was not as difficult for the Lions. The team went back to the basics and showed improvement. According to Rapp, they had more of a “game face” on against the Eagles, and it helped their focus and determination during the game.
“We don’t practice, we game simulate,” Rapp said. “We want to be more than a one-dimensional team, and we want to be efficient.”
The Lions have been playing without 2008 standout Dominique Hardaway who is currently nursing a minor shoulder injury. Dylan Messerly has been substituting for Hardaway.
In the contest against La Grange, both teams are evenly matched. The Leopards finished the 2008 season with a 6-4-1 record, while the Lions finished 8-4.
According to the Sports Power Texas High School Football rankings, the Leopards’ record ranks them 11th in Region IV, while the Lions are starting the season ranked 16th in Region III.
Many variables can affect the outcome of the season, but the Lions are prepared to make the best of it. Student athletes will need to maintain their grades and remain healthy and injury free to improve their chances at playing in December.
Lion coaches look forward to a successful 2009 season. Hard work and great discipline on the part of the players, they say, will be a key factor in the team’s success.
Another important component to the success of the team is community support. The support of community leaders, school administrators, parents and fans is an integral part of each season’s success.
“Our youngsters are very unselfish,” Rapp said. “I am incredibly pleased with their work ethic. They work hard as a team and they take pride in their efforts. The work ethic in the offensive line is outstanding. We look forward to a great season and hope to see as many Lion fans as we can out at the stadium on our first home game.”
The Lions will face the Leopards at Lion Stadium for a Senior Parent’s Night game on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.