Unleashed Lions crush Cougars 34-21
By Alonzo Garza
What started out with a scoreless first quarter for the Lions and the Cougars, ended in a 34-21 win over Crockett at the Tony Burger Stadium in Austin on Friday, Sept. 19, earning the Lions their fourth victory in a row.
“I am very proud of our team,” Head Coach Troy Moses said after the game. “Crockett is a good footba
ll team and we raised our level of play tonight. I knew it was going to be a battle and offensively, we were going to have to be patient. Fortunately, we executed well and kept control of the game.”
The first quarter went by quickly. Neither team scored, despite great effort from both. The Lions made it to the goal line after 26 plays, 25 of which were runs, for a 92-yard drive, but the Cougars pushed them back.
“Crockett had some weapons on offense and we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands”. Moses said.
“We knew Crockett would give us some problems,” Coach Ernie Bustamante said. “They have many returning starters and number 42, Harkless is one of the best backs around. He has the potential to break away every time he touches the ball. Crockett is well coached. They will make some noise before this season ends.”
The Lions scored first with a Stacey Bell 1-yard rush at 11:54 in the second quarter. Michael Pittman’s kick failed, for a 6-0 score.
At 10:58, the Cougars answered with a 52-yard pass from Zach Bosier to Darrell Cantu-Harkless. The extra point kick from Cantu-Harkless was good for a 6-7 game.
Lion Dominique Hardaway made his first touchdown of the night with a 28-yard run at 6:58. Randy Castillo caught a two-point conversion pass from John Alvarez for a 14-7 game at 6:57.
The Lions decided they were not through scoring in the half. A 64-yard pass from Alvarez to Castillo was completed and a Pittman kick was good for a 21-7 score at halftime.
The third quarter began with the Lions kicking to the Cougars. After most of the quarter was spent kicking the football back and forth, the Lions scored the only touchdown of the third when Zachary Leija made a 4-yard run with one minute left on the clock. Pittman’s kick was no good for a score of 27-7 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter began with a 14-yard touchdown run by Hardaway, who escaped to the left side of the field. Pittman’s kick was successful for a score of 34-7.
At 7:39, the Cougars scored again with a 6-yard touchdown run by Mark Davis. The Cantu-Harkless kick was good, for a 34-14 score.
The Cougars never let up, passing the ball until they made it to the 19-yard line with 3:33 left in the game. A 16-yard run by Cantu-Harkless with 41 seconds to go was the last touchdown of the night ending the game at 34-21 after a good kick by Cantu-Harkless.
“Defensively, we made some in-game adjustments to counter act some of their moves,” Bustamante said. “Our young men handled it well. Being able to hold number 42 (Cantu-Harkless) to only 43 yards rushing is one great feat. One thing we need to work on is finishing games. With things in hand, we relaxed in the fourth period and gave up 14 points.”
Hardaway carried the ball 28 times for a total of 176 yards in the game. Richard Ybarra rushed for 77 yards and Leija rushed for 33.
“Our kids are responding well to the success that they are having and are working hard everyday to improve. This week we took a big step forward… if we continue to improve, the sky is the limit,” Moses said. “Next, we have a good Gregory Portland team. They are a well-known program within Region 4. This will give us a chance to see where we are as a program. I’m excited about the challenge.”
Gregory Portland lost their first three games of the season, but not by much. They lost by one point to King (13-14), six points to Calallen (15-21) and one point to Carroll (27-28). They have a strong passing game.
The GP quarterback, senior Sterling Martin, is out for six weeks after surgery to his throwing hand, so six-foot sophomore Kyle Fishbeck has been filling in with great success, completing 10 of 19 passes in the last game against Carroll.
The Lions host Gregory Portland during Pop Warner Night at Lion Field on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.