With three consecutive wins behind them after Friday’s game, the Lions improved to 3-1 in the season and boosted the team’s experience by leaps and bounds.
The Lions improved not only their record, but their level of play on the field and their confidence as a team when they defeated the Austin Crockett Cougars 28-21 in a tough, evenly-matched game at Lion Stadium on Friday, Sept. 18.
“We are extremely excited about winning three games in a row,” head coach Robin Rapp said. “We are also looking forward to the opportunity to go on the road and play a prestigious Gregory Portland team this week.”
The first quarter began with the Lions receiving and taking a first-and-ten at the 31-yard line. By 8:57 the Lions had a first-and-ten at their own 12-yard line. Strong defense on the part of the Cougars kept the Lions from scoring and forced them to punt.
The Cougars took control of the ball at the Lion 38-yard line at 6:48. They made it to the 24-yard line for another first-and-ten with five minutes remaining in the quarter and by 4:23 they were at the 4-yard line for a first-and-goal.
Austin Crockett scored the first touchdown of the night with 4:17 to go in the first. The extra point kick was good for a score of 7-0.
At 2:53, Lockhart answered with a Dominique Hardaway touchdown and a good Brooks Pittman extra point kick, ending the quarter in a tie at seven.
The Lions began scoring in the second quarter at 10:41 with a hand off from quarterback Tyler Tolley to Hardaway, who ran down the right side and in for a touchdown with little interference from the Cougar defense. Pittman’s extra point kick was good for a score of 14-7.
The Cougars fumbled and the Lions recovered for a first-and-ten at their own 34-yard line at 10:24. Unfortunately, the Lions fumbled immediately after having regained control, and the Cougars took possession of the ball at the 35-yard line.
Austin Crockett moved the ball to the 13-yard line and at 9:47 scored a touchdown and a good extra point kick for a tie at 14.
A couple of punts and penalties later the Lions scored again with a pass from Tolley to Kendall Till at 2:43. The extra point kick was good for a score of 21-14.
A field goal attempt by the Cougars failed to the left with 1:30 remaining. No further scoring occurred, ending the first half with the Lions leading 21-14.
Both teams started to show signs of wear in the third quarter, with penalties and mistakes increasing throughout the half.
Penalties and turnovers plagued the third quarter, with both teams struggling to reach the end zone and failing. Finally, Tolley connected a pass to Karl Greiger for a first-and-goal with two minutes remaining.
The Lions spent the final minutes of the quarter inching closer to the goal line, until Hardaway was able to rush in for a touchdown with 32 seconds to spare. The extra point kick was good, ending the quarter at 28-14.
At the top of the fourth quarter, the Lions called a time out, which was followed immediately by a fumble and a Cougar recovery at the 37-yard line. Crockett pushed through until they scored the final touchdown of the game at 7:09, following it up with a good extra point kick and closing scoring at 28-21.
“The Lions are improving weekly,” Rapp said. “More than anything, they are learning how to win close games. On offense, our running game, led by Dominique Hardaway and the entire offensive line, had an outstanding game.”
Hardaway rushed for 214 yards on 27 carries. Greiger made two catches for 58 yards on two pivotal plays.
“Defensively, Brandon Pleasant had a big game recording four solo tackles and being in on nine more,” Rapp said.
Jordan Officer caused a fumble, had two solos and was in on five tackles. Trey Hartman made two sacks.
The Lions’ only loss of the season came against one of the top Class 3A teams in Central Texas and that was to La Grange.
The Lions will travel to Gregory-Portland High School to face the Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 25 in their last game before the start of the District season.
Gregory-Portland High School is located at 4601 Wildcat Drive in Portland, Texas. Drive time to Portland from Lockhart is around three hours, and kickoff is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.