By Kathi Bliss
While dozens of up-and-coming Lions cheered them on for Pop Warner Night, the Varsity Lions bounced back from a stinging loss to Seguin to earn a big win over the Schertz Clemens Buffaloes on Friday night.
In what was touted as an evenly-matched District game, the Lions looked to increase their season record to 4-1, while the Buffs had hoped to pick up their first win on the season. At the end of the night, though it was the Lions who emerged victorious, delighting a home crowd with a 36-14 win – the Lions’ first District win in more than two years.
“It feels good,” said Lion senior Ray Sedwick after the game. “The other wins this season felt good, but this feels better… it means more.”
As a third-year varsity Lion, Sedwick knows. For his first two seasons on the varsity team, the Lions couldn’t put a win on the board. This year, though, the Lions seem to be on a roll, picking up three wins in the pre-season and bouncing back to a 1-1 record in District on Friday night.
The Lions started out strong, earning the first touchdown of the night just minutes into the game, steadily marching from their own 36 to the endzone, and closing their second offensive drive with a 2-yard scramble by Curtis Hawkins, followed by a good kick from junior Jordan Johnson to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.
With 4:57 left in the half, senior Levi Mair, who spent the early part of the season struggling with a foot injury, drove in the Lions’ second touchdown on a 6-yard push. Johnson again followed up with a good kick, giving Lockhart 14 unanswered points.
Before the second half closed, though, the Buffaloes answered with a touchdown of their own, on a 13-yard pass.
The half closed with the Lions up 14-7.
The Buffaloes came out hot after the break, scoring on a 71-yard run within the first minute of the half. The rest of the third was a battle of the wits and wills, with Lockhart and Clemens trading possession until the final moment of the period, when quarterback Charles Ereaux found Tyrell Williams on an 18-yard pass for another Lion touchdown.
The Lions kept the momentum going through the fourth, with Marcos Rodriguez stacking on another touchdown after a 4-yard run. CJ McKinney capped the Lions’ scoring with a 43-yard scramble to the end zone, followed by a pass from Ereaux to JD Franco for two.
The night closed with the Lions on top of the 36-14 score.
“It really was a team effort,” said senior Aaron Moncevaiz. “Our D line was good at making the stops, and our offense made the plays. This was a big game for us to win.”
Defensive highlights on the night included Franco coming up with a big quarterback sack late in the third, which led to a turnover in the next play, and an end-zone interception from Williams that allowed the Lions to take their lead into the half.
Riding high on their first winning season in years, the Lions will travel to Buda this week to take on the Hays Rebels.
“I’m not scared,” Sedwick said. “I’m looking forward to the game, because [the Rebels] have been our rivals for a long time, and it would be nice to get a win over them.”
The Lions may have their work cut out for them on Friday night. Like Lockhart, the Rebels have a 4-1 (1-1) record on the season, with their only loss being last week’s 31-10 falling to the district powerhouse Kerrville Tivy Antlers.
“Hays is a well-balanced team offensively,” Coach Paul Kilby said. “They run and pass equally well. Defensively, Hays is super-aggressive, and we have to ‘out-physical’ them if we’re going to be successful.”
Most notably, Kilby said, the Rebels have phenom quarterback Caleb Kimbro back on the field after being out with a shoulder injury. Kimbro, he said, is the “real deal,” and he noted the Lions defense will have to find a way to neutralize him.
So far this season, Kimbro has passed for 668 yards and five touchdowns, with a 64 percent completion rate.
Kickoff at Bob Shelton Stadium, 4298 Jack C. Hays Trail in Buda, is schedule at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.