Lions open with 23-25 Connally heartbreaker
By LPR Staff
It was not the beginning that Head Coach Brian Herman had hoped for. In the light of strong scrimmages and productive practices, he had hoped that small mistakes and penalties would not cost the Lions their first game of the season.
Despite several shining offensive performances and a generally strong defense, the Lions fell 23-25 to the Pflugerville Connally Cougars in their home opener last Friday.
“Studying the film, we are better than we were this time last year,” Herman said. “That said, when you lose it is easy to get the players focus. When you play weaker opponents and win while making mistakes, that creates false confidence.”
Turnovers, and penalties for 90 yards were costly for the Lions, who introduced a more pass-heavy offense than Herman has employed in prior years.
The highlight of the evening came in the third, when the Lions forced a fumble that defensive back Brandon Finger was able to return 66 yards for a Lion touchdown. However on the conversion attempt, the Lions bobbled the snap, preventing the extra points.
“ We are playing close attention to ‘little things.’” Herman said. “We are focused on steps, responsibilities, reads, ball security, special teams and personnel.”
In their inaugural appearance, the Lions showed new variety in their offensive strategy, relying on a wider range of personnel in the backfield, as well as putting receivers in action for a wider passing game than Lion fans have seen in the past.
Those changes, coupled with the talent on the roster this year, could make for one of the strongest Lion teams fans have seen in recent years, he said.
“They can be great if they decide to allow themselves to be pushed harder and demand excellence of all members of the program,” he said. “They must stay positive and not let one small setback derail any momentum of progress. Any negativity in the program or surrounding the program can destroy any chances of success. In other words, as Henry Ford would say ‘Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right!’”
Herman noted that early polling had not indicated the Lions to be the favorite in the Connally matchup, and that it was the mistakes that cost the team in the end.
“When you make mistakes against an athletic team like Connally you allow them to beat you,” he said. “We believed we would win and we were one play away from victory. That should show that we are capable, if we do more things correctly.
On Friday night, the Lions will travel to Victoria to take on the strong, and emotional, Victoria West Warriors, who recently saw their hometown disastrously impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
“They know how to and expect to win,” he said. “They will be playing with all kinds of heart and passion in order to bring their community together.”
Memorial Stadium is located at 1110 Sam Houston Dr., Victoria, Texas 77901. There will be no admission fees for Friday night’s game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m.