By Kathi Bliss
They knew it was going to be the toughest game they faced so far this year.
When they got off the bus, the Lions knew. They had traveled to Schertz to face the Clemens Buffaloes, arguably one of this year’s District 27-4A powerhouse teams. Until Friday night, the Buffs had averaged 36 points per game, and sported a defensive line that had only given up three touchdowns in their first four games.
The Lions had their work cut out for them.
As the night drew to a close, it was clear that the job was a little more than the Lions could handle. Clemens’ slippery, solid defense tricked the Lions into a handful of false-start penalties before stopping their offensive drives short and preventing Lockhart from finding the end zone for the first time this season.
However, the final 0-23 score only tells part of the story.
“We seemed at times to be somewhat mesmerized by the buffaloes and every time one good thing would happen, two bad things would follow,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “We just could not sustain any momentum throughout the night. Defense played well enough to keep us in the game but in the end penalties and mistakes on offense and in special teams kept us from getting on the scoreboard.”
Those penalties and missteps were costly, as the Lions stacked up 12 penalty calls for a total loss of 100 yards. Without those losses, it seems, the Lions could have been a contender.
In fact, the Lion offense logged eight first downs, while Clemens had only 10. The Lions gained 205 yards, and held the Buffaloes to 240.
And the Lion defense proved to be the biggest challenge the Buffaloes have seen this season, holding them to only 23 points, by far the lowest score they have logged this season.
“Clemens is much improved from last year and they currently have the best defense in the district only giving up 21 points through 5 games,” Herman said. “We currently rank second, having given up 108 points through 5 games. The Buffaloes defense is bigger, stronger and faster than any defense we have seen this year. Also, offensively they have switched to a run-based offense that plays into their strength and personnel. That along with having 44 hungry seniors makes Clemens a very scary opponent for anyone in this district, they seem to be on a mission.”
The Lions are on a mission, as well, to make a bid for the playoffs this year, and their hopes are well intact, returning to their home field on Friday night to face longtime rivals the Hays Rebels.
The Rebels rolled over Lehman 56-34 in their first District game of the season, and then fell 21-27 to Kerrville Tivy last week. Like the Lions, the Rebels are 3-2 (1-1) on the season.
The results could give one team or the other a stronger position in the playoff hunt.
“Every week is going to be a huge challenge,” Herman said. “So many teams in this district are capable of winning any game they play. Each week it will come down to who is the most prepared and then who executes the best with the fewest mistakes.”
The Lions will host Hays at Lion Stadium on Friday night. Kickoff is slated at 7:30 p.m.