THUNDERSTRUCK: Medina Valley spoils district opener for Lockhart in lightning-delayed game
By Miles Smith
For a couple of hours on Friday night at Lions Stadium, it seemed Mother Nature was going to emerge the victor in Lockhart’s season opener against Medina Valley when officials suspended play after deciding the flashes of lightning punctuating the night sky were too frequent to ignore.
But following a nearly two-hour delay, play resumed at about 10:02 p.m. Friday and it was the visiting Panthers (3-1, 1-0) that rained on the Lions’ parade, jumping out to a two touchdown third-quarter lead and escaping with a 23-19 win after a late comeback attempt by Lockhart fell just short.
Fueled by the ever-churning legs of gargantuan halfback James Gipson, the Panthers broke open a 7-7 game in the third quarter, scoring twice on dive plays as Gipson found his way into the end zone to give Medina Valley a 21-7 lead.
However, Lockhart (2-2,0-1) would not be silenced that easily. The Lions found a groove in the fourth quarter, scoring on two Daetron Ellison runs on drives powered largely by the junior running back, who set up first and goal on the game’s final score with a flying leap over defenders.
“He was my biggest worry going into this game,” Lockhart head coach Brian Herman said of Gipson, whose runs took a team effort to stop. “His size and speed were a mismatch for us. But we hung in there and it was an even game. An up-and-down game, but pretty even.”
Similar to Game 2’s 30-29 loss against Taylor, special teams gaffes plagued the Lions in the second half. After Gipson scored to make the game 20-7 in the third quarter, an offsides penalty on Lockhart negated a missed Medina Valley extra point kick, giving them another try. The Panthers’ kick was good and Medina Valley took a 21-7 lead. Later, after Daetron Ellison crossed the goal line on a 15-yard scamper, Cole Modgling flew right in the path of Eduardo Ponce’s extra point attempt and picked it up, scampering to the end zone for two points and turning what could have been a 21-14 game into a 23-13 game,
Ellison would score again with about a minute left in the game, but Ponce’s point-after attempt sailed wide right. An onside kick attempt would follow, but it was batted out of bounds by Lockhart, giving Medina Valley the ball with under a minute to play and the Lions having only one timeout left.
Going into next week’s road contest with San Antonio Memorial, Coach Brian Herman said one thing would definitely be emphasized in practice.
“Special teams,” he said. “We’ve been really working on it in practice. But we need to give it more attention, and we will.”
Read more football coverage in Thursday’s Post-Register.