Adversity doesn’t stop Lions with eyes on the prize
With a berth in the state playoffs on the line, Lockhart’s first 53 seconds of the second half looked like a script for a football horror flick.
Nevertheless, it was the Lions who made for a happy ending in the regular-season finale at home, edging Kerrville Tivy, 31-30, to advance to Friday’s first round of the Class 5A, Division II state playoffs.
Lockhart will visit Alamo Heights on Friday at 7 p.m. (see related article on Page 1A for details).
In his final game at Lions Stadium, Lockhart senior Ashton Dickens had one more spectacular performance in his arsenal, leading the Lions to a come-from-behind victory to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
It also marked Lockhart’s second consecutive victory over Tivy. Last year’s win at Kerrville was Lockhart‘s first in 30 years over the Antlers.
On a weekend when Lockhart celebrated the state’s barbecue festival, the Lions appeared well done after some disastrous moment to start the second half when Tivy scored twice before band members had hardly settled in their seats.
Tied at 21-21, Tivy kicked off to start the second half. The ball bounced over returner Quavon Reese’s head. Reese retrieved the ball and tried to run it out, but then retreated into the end zone to try to avoid an Antler tackler, but he was dropped for a safety. Only nine seconds into the second half and Lockhart went from tied and getting the ball to trailing 23–21.
It would get worse for the home team.
Following Lockhart’s free kick from its own 20, the Antlers were set up to begin its next position on the Lions’ 31. It only took two plays for the visitors to score from there, the final 27 yards coming on running back Aidan Varwig’s jaunt to paydirt. With 11:03 left in the third quarter, Tivy led the Lions 30-21.
Tivy started the first half almost as fast, scoring three plays into the game when Varwig sprinted 16 yards for a touchdown. Wiley Landrum’s PAT gave the Antlers a 7-0 lead with just over a minute elapsed at 10:46 of the first quarter.
Lockhart responded with an 8-play, 62-yard scoring drive. Freshman Nathan Roland scored from 9 yards out on his first carry of the night. Omar Ocampo’s PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 7:45 left in the first quarter.
Tivy proceeded to go 70 yards just four plays, scoring on quarterback Julian Rhodes’ 28 burst. Landrum’s PAT gave the Antlers a 14-7 lead with 5:53 left in the first period.
Lockhart had consecutive scoring drives too, this time going 76 yards in five plays.
Dickens connected with Gage Deutsch across the middle. After Deutsch outjumped a Tivy defender for the ball, he sprinted the final 48 yards to the end zone for the 64-yard score. Ocampo’s PAT tied the game at 14-14 with 3:07 left in the opening frame.
Tivy regained the lead early in the second quarter after each team had committed a turnover. Domynik Vasquez scored on a 14-yard run for the Antlers with 10:25 left in the first half. Landrum’s PAT made it 21-14.
However, Reese returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the Lions’ 44, and Lockhart drove 56 yards in six plays, the final five on a power run by Dickens. Ocampo’s PAT tied the game at 21-21 with 7:52 left in the half.
That’s the way things stood through halftime, but Tivy exploded out of the locker room with its onslaught that saw Lockhart trailing by two scores for the first time in the game.
“Our guys had great body language on the sidelines,” Lockhart Head Coach Todd Moebes said. “Obviously, they were disappointed in the first minute of the second half. I just told them we have dug ourselves in a hole, now we’ve just gotta dig out.”
The dirt began to churn when the Lions traveled 88 yards in 11 plays, all on runs — five by Dickens, four by Nathaniel Gonzales, and two by Roland. Gonzales made a nice cut on a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:24 left in the third quarter. Ocampo’s PAT cut Tivy’s lead to 30-28.
No one realized that would be the last touchdown of the game.
Lockhart’s Jadyn Burnett picked off a Tivy pass to end one threat, and the Lions were held short on a fake punt attempt.
With 10:39 left in the game, Lockhart started its game-winning drive at its own 33. Dickens connected with Nathan Garcia for a 37-yard gain to the Tivy 30. The Lions reached the Antlers’ 10, but faced a 4th-and-7 at the 12 when Ocampo was called upon. He drilled the 29-yard field with 7:34 remaining to give Lockhart its first lead at 31-30.
Tivy got the ball out to its own 48, but on 4th-and-4, Lockhart’s Tyler Staton knocked down a pass attempt for what proved to be the game-winner as well.
Four consecutive runs by Gonzales, followed by three more by Dickens, and the senior quarterback was able to take a knee on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line to run out the clock as Lockhart erased the final 4:06 with a 9-play drive.
“The offense got us a big score, the defense did its job, and Omar Ocampo made a big kick,” Moebes said.
Much maligned for many games this season, Lockhart’s defense has come through with must-wins at home over Bastrop (28-17) and Tivy, holding the Antlers scoreless for the final 23:03.
“I think our defense has really grown,” Moebes said. “They have played their best in our last two home games.”
All areas of the game will need to play their best for Lockhart at unbeaten Alamo Heights (10-0).
The Mules have scored 49 points or more in every game, including 60 or more three times, and they beat Edison, 73–6.
The teams have no common opponent, although Alamo Heights beat Burbank, 53–20, while Lockhart beat Burbank in the first round of the state playoffs last season, 62-7.
“Alamo Heights is a really good football team,” Moebes said. “They have talent across-the-board. They are extremely well coached and play great football in all three phases.”
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Tivy won the Junior Varsity game, 26-12, and the Freshman game, 42-7.
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District 13 Standings
Pieper 9-1 6-0
Liberty Hill 6-4 4-2
Vets Mem. 7-3 4-2
Lockhart 4-6 3-3
Kerrville Tivy 6-4 2-4
Bastrop 5-5 2-4
Cedar Creek 0-10 0-6
Last week’s scores:
Lockhart 31, Tivy 30
Pieper 33, Liberty Hill 23
Veterans Memorial 35, Cedar Creek 7
Bastrop has an open date
This week’s games
5A-D2 State Playoffs
Lockhart at Alamo Heights (10-0)
San Antonio Sam Houston (7-3) at Pieper
Harlandale (7-3) at Liberty Hill
Veterans Memorial at Burbank (9-1)
Nov. 3, Lions Stadium
Score by Quarters
Tivy 14 7 9 0 — 30
Lockhart 14 7 7 3 — 31
TEAM STATS Tivy Lockhart
First Downs 14 25
Rushes-Yards 28-180 58-368
Passing 11-22-1 4-8-0
Passing Yards 143 133
Total Yards 323 501
Punts-Avg. 2-36.5 1-19.0
Penalties-Yards 4-44 9-70
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Time of Possession 15:26 32:34
RUSHING: TIVY — Varwig 18-84, Vasquez 6-54, J.Rhodes 3-30, Kincaid 1-12. LOCKHART — Dickens 33-211, Gonzales 20-114, Roland 4-38, Moebes 1-5.
PASSING: TIVY — J.Rhodes 10-18-1-136, Kincaid 1-4-0-7. LOCKHART — Dickens 4-8-0-133.
RECEIVING: TIVY — Flores 2-62, Cad.Jones 2-46, Car.Jones 2-40, Varwig 4-12, Chancellor 1-8. LOCKHART — Deutsch 2-88, Garcia 1-37, Key 1-8.
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TIVY — Varwig 16 run (Landrum kick), 10:46
LOCKHART — Roland 9 run (Ocampo kick), 7:45.
TIVY — J.Rhodes 28 run (Landrum kick), 5:53
LOCKHART — Deutsch 64 pass from Dickens (Ocampo kick), 3:07.
TIVY — Vasquez 14 run Landum kick), 10:25
LOCKHART — Dickens 5 run (Ocampo kick), 7:52.
TIVY — Safety, Lockhart tackled in end zone on kickoff, 11:53
TIVY — Varwig 27 run (Landrum kick), 11:03
LOCKHART — Gonzales 4 run (Ocampo kick), 6:24.
LOCKHART — Ocampo 29 field goal. 7:34.