Lions fall to Wildcats in hard hitting game
By Alonzo Garza
Despite individual bright spots and cohesive team play, the Lions were outgunned on Friday night by a powerful Gregory-Portland Wildcat squad. The Lions fell 49-20 in their final non-district matchup of the season.
“We lost soundly to a very good football team,” Lion Head Football Coach Robin Rapp said. “They are not a
n annual playoff team for nothing. Even though the result was not what we would have wanted, we will become a better team because of it. We responded and played well after the La Grange defeat and I believe we will handle this the same way.”
Offensively, the Lions gave a strong performance, with quarterback Tyler Tolley going 15-25, completing 60 percent of his passes.
Senior standout running back Domnique Hardaway made two touchdowns, carrying the ball 15 times for 205 yards. Hardaway was responsible for a late-game rally, when he returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown without any interference or even a challenge from Wildcat defenders.
Hardaway seemed to shift into a higher gear after crossing the 50-yard line, and with the Lion fans cheering him on the Wildcats never had a chance of catching up to him.
“There were some bright spots individually in the game,” Rapp said. “[Hardaway’s performance] and Brian Martinez had one of his best nights receiving and blocking.”
In the first quarter, the Lions received and started the game with a first-and-ten at the 22-yard line. After three attempts at moving the ball, the Lions punted to the Wildcats, who scored with their first play of the game on a 46-yard touchdown run by Joey Sanchez. The extra point kick by Jonathan Velasco was good for a 7-0 score at 10:29.
Kendall Till returned the following Wildcat kick to the 29-yard line. The Lions moved the ball down field at a steady pace. Once in field goal position, the Lions called upon kicker Brooks Pittman. Although his performance this season has been consistent to date, Pittman faltered against the Wildcats, kicking wide and failing to score.
The Wildcats moved the ball from their 20-yard line to the Lion’s 35-yard line in less than three minutes, but could not score again. The first quarter ended at 7-0.
The second quarter proved fruitful for both teams.
Gregory-Portland scored two additional touchdowns with two 3-yard rushes by Nikki Smith. The first touchdown came at the top of the quarter with 11:10 remaining. The second came at the end with 1:28 left to play in the first half. The extra point kicks were good for 14 more Wildcat points.
The Lions scored their first touchdown of the night with a 17-yard pass from Tolley to Martinez. The extra point kick was good ending the first half at 21-7.
The Wildcats roared back to the field after the half on a mission to secure the victory, which they punctuated early in the third quarter by opening with another Sanchez touchdown on a 46-yard run.
The Lions took possession with 11:39 on the clock, but failed to find the end zone before turning the ball back over to the Wildcats, who widened their lead to 35-7 with 7:41 in the quarter.
Before the quarter closed, Hardaway got in a 65-yard carry for a touchdown, followed by a solid extra point kick from Pittman.
However, the Wildcats answered back with another score, closing the quarter at 42-14.
Again, the Wildcats opened scoring in the fourth quarter, this time on a 53-yard run by Michael Johnson and another good Velasco kick at 9:59.
Moments later, Hardaway’s 80-yard scamper closed scoring at 49-20.
“The entire offensive line, Karl Greiger, Jeff McCoy, Steven Post, Jose Aguillon, Jonathan Alvarez, Kevin Rodriguez and Lee Brummett had a good night protecting Tolley and providing nice holes for the backs,” Rapp said. “Defensively, Cody Reed, Brandon Pleasant and Aurelio Garcia made some excellent plays on defense.”
There will be no Lockhart football action this Friday, but the Lions will travel to Del Valle to face the Cardinals in their first district game of the season on Friday, Oct. 9.
See you at the game.