Apaches edge out Lions 28-24 in final seconds
By Alonzo Garza
The Lockhart Lions played as well as they could have up until the very end during their first game against the Gonzales Apaches at Gonzales on Friday, Sept. 7. A beautifully executed pass play by the Gonzales Apaches changed the score and the teams’ fates with a mere 26 seconds left in the game. The play allowed the Apaches to st
rip away the Lions’ victory with a final score of 28-24.
“Tough loss,” said Head Football Coach Troy Moses nodding his head right after the game. “The kids played hard. I’m not going to hold this loss against them. They played well throughout the whole game. Like I told the kids, we just need to make more plays than the other team. We dominated the whole second half of the game up until the end.”
It was a strange game from the beginning. The scoreboard clock did not work for the entire first half of the game. The officials, who passed on the information to the coaches as needed, kept the game’s time on the field. It was difficult for everyone else to know exactly where the game was, as far as time was concerned.
The field was soggy, even drenched in some places. The mushy field was covered by a thick-as-soup blanket of humidity that weighed down on the players and the fans for most of the game.
The first quarter started out with Lion Christian Estrada getting hurt after stopping an Apache receiver who caught a nice pass down the middle. The Lions stopped the Apaches from advancing down the field and took possession of the ball on the 40-yard line. Some gains in yardage were made, but none of the gains yielded a score.
The Apaches fumbled with about six minutes remaining in the quarter. The ball went back and forth until the Apaches completed a long pass for a touchdown in the last minute. The extra point was good and quarter ended in a 7-0 lead for the Apaches.
The second quarter began with a bang. Both the Lions and the Apaches came out scoring at the very beginning of the quarter. First, Zachary Leija scored a touchdown for the Lions changing the score to 7-6. The extra point kick was no good. Then the Apache quarterback threw a beautiful pass that was caught and carried in for an 89-yard touchdown for a score of 6-13. The Apache extra point kick was missed to the left.
With 3:40 remaining in the second quarter the Apaches got frustrated and sloppy. They were given two 15-yard penalties at the same time for a huge 30-yard loss. The initial penalty was for holding. It was followed by a personal foul, which turned into a dead ball foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, to the dismay of Gonzales fans. The last three minutes of the quarter were uneventful and the first half ended at 13-6.
After the halftime break, the Lions came out roaring. The third quarter began with a Casey Butler touchdown with 11:05 left to go. The Lions got a 15-yard penalty before kicking the extra point and then decided to go for the two-point conversion, which resulted in a successful touchdown pass and ecstatic Lockhart fans. Other than a great interception by Adam Renteria, the quarter was just full of hard-hitting plays and frustrated coaches on both sides of the field. The third quarter ended with the Lions on top and a score of 14-13.
The most excitement in the game came in the fourth quarter when all the Apache and Lion fans were on their feet and cheering on their respective teams. The playing was intense and emotions ran high along both sidelines. The action started with a Lion pass to Jacob Frey who completed the play with a nice catch setting up the Lions in good field position.
After a first, second and third down attempt, the Lions finally got through and scored a touchdown on the fourth down with Jacob Castillo rushing in and 8:18 left in the game. The extra point kick was good and the score went to 21-13 in favor of the Lions.
With 7:03 left in the game the Apaches turned up the heat. A long pass was thrown perfectly into the hands of an awaiting Apache receiver who was wide open, with no coverage from the Lion defense. The two-point conversion attempt was good and the score was tied at 21-21.
Leija pushed the Lions forward with about five minutes left in the game. He kept driving forward until the Lions had good field position. At 2:41 the Lions called a time out on their fourth down. Whatever play was used worked for a first down. Leija got a first and ten at 2:33. Estrada helped rush onward on second down.
A dropped pass on a third down with 43 seconds to go did not help the Lion momentum. The score was still tied at 21-21 with 39 seconds left in the game when the Lions decided to seal the deal with a field goal.
The field goal attempt was good for three points and a score of 24-21 in favor of the Lions. Apparently, the football gods were not through enjoying the game so at 26 seconds to go, they granted possession of the ball to the Apaches who went on to win the game with yet another beautiful pass to the left side of the field. The pass was complete and the ball was rushed in for an Apache touchdown to the amazement and utter disbelief of the Lockhart fans.
The extra point kick was good and the score changed to 24-28 with 13 seconds left to burn off the clock. Time ran out on the Lions and any attempt to score was futile.
“Friday night was exciting, fun and disappointing all at the same time,” Moses said on Monday. “Even though the game didn’t come out like I would have hoped, I saw a lot of things that make me eager to get back on the field. We made a few mistakes on defense that cost us, but that is expected in your first game. We must correct those mistakes this week and get focused for Floresville.”
Coach Moses went on to praise his coaches and players. He went over the positive and reiterated the fact that the Lions dominated the second half of the game almost entirely.
Highlights in the second half of the game came from the offense that ran 47 plays to Gonzales’ 12 plays. The offensive player of the week was Butler, who had 143 yards on 24 carries. The defensive player of the game was Renteria, who made two tackles, one assist and one interception. Other standouts included Gerald Cuellar who kicked a 35-yard field goal. Jacob Castillo made 10 carries for 35 yards and Estrada made seven tackles.
The Lions will play against Floresville at Lions Stadium on Friday, Sept. 14. The game will feature the Senior Parents and start at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.