Lions battle for LBJ Laredo win
By LPR Staff
Adversities, many of their own making, threatened to throw the Lions off track last Thursday night as they traveled to San Antonio to take on the Laredo LBJ Wolves in their final pre-District contest of the season. Still, Lockhart’s Boys of Fall were able to control their tempers and their circumstances, eventually allowing them to control the game and come home with a 28-10 win.
“We all have a mutual understanding that no matter the circumstances we leave it all on the field and play our best, not only during game nights but also during our practices,” said senior defensive back Brandon Finger of a game that saw the Lions plagued with penalties and see one player ejected before halftime over a misunderstanding. “It’s not worth losing your temper when you can just let it all out on the field.”
The Lion defense did exactly that, allowing the Wolves only nine first downs, and several key offensive pushes, including twice killing drives inside the red zone.
It was a slow start for the Lions, who opted to receive, but lost their first scoring opportunity with a turnover on a fumble during the third play of the game.
While the Wolves were not able to make it across the goal line, they capitalized on their opportunity, going within striking distance for a 14-yard field goal less than four minutes in.
The respective defenses continued to trade blows, and the Lions missed an opportunity to tie the game late in the first when kicker Juan Ocampo fell short on a 23-yard field goal attempt.
In their first drive of the second, the Lions were able to capitalize on a strong punt return from Jayden Garza, which put the Lions inside Wolves territory and allowed Lockhart to put together a solid drive that ended with Daequan Ellison crossing the goal line for the Lions’ first lead of the game. Ocampo followed up with a good kick, putting the Lions ahead 7-3 with a little more than eight minutes left in the half.
The Wolves answered in their next drive, shaving only three minutes off the clock before taking a 10-7 lead with their last successful drive of the night.
Moments later, quarterback Logan Brown broke free for a 48-yard touchdown scamper, which was called back and fired the opening shot on a series of events that could have made lesser teams crumble.
Instead, the Lions found a way to make it work, clearing the road for Ellison to make a big 47-yard scramble that put the Lions on top, 14-10.
As time drained away from the second half, the Lions forced a punt, taking possession at their own 32-yard line. A series of penalties, including two unsportsmanlike conduct calls, drove the Lions back, eventually to the 6-yard line, where a fumble turned over possession to the Wolves, at first-and-goal with 1:05 left in the half.
As they tried to put together a drive to take the lead, the Wolves found the goal line, but had the play called back on a holding penalty. The Wolves pushed back to the 1-yard line, Devin Norman, Zion Petty and the Lion defense held, pushed the Wolves back again and forced a field-goal attempt, which went wide, putting the Lions back in charge as the half ended.
Coming out of the tunnel after halftime, the Lions played with calmer, more careful procedure, and still more power from the defense, who held the Wolves scoreless in the half.
“We made mistakes, but we came back and fixed it because we did not lose trust in each other. That chemistry of the team is what allowed us to make mistakes, and still be trusted by our team,” said senior Captain Joe John Colurciello. “I just plan to do whatever I can to help this team win. I am not the perfect football player but I can still be an example for anyone who looks at me. That is my plan as Captain.”
At the same time, the offensive line came up with important blocks, allowing Ellison to find his way twice more into the end zone.
“We can’t always control what happens in a game, but we can control how we respond,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “ I was very proud of the players and coaches for not allowing frustrating moments in the game keep us from performing up to our abilities. After watching film, there were many bright spots in all three phases of Special Teams, Defense and Offense.”
The series at the end of the first half, he said, “energized the locker room… and allowed us to play more freely in the second half.”
The Lions will be at home this week, beginning their District season at the Homecoming Game against the Seguin Matadors. Herman said the team is getting ready with “confident” energy this week.
“The kids and coaches realize we are one play away from being 3-0, and they also realize that we are not as good as we want to be yet.”
Historically, the Lions have fared well against the Matadors, but Herman said nothing is a given.
“This is not the same Seguin program,” he said. “They are scoring a ton of points, almost 50 per game. If we turn the ball over and have missed tackles, we make ourselves vulnerable.”
Additionally, he said, the Matadors, in their second year under Head Coach Travis Bush brings speed and strength to both sides of the ball, as well as an advantage in numbers and depth.
“We will have to control the ball and the clock, score points and be mindful of our personnel rotations,” he said.
The Lions are currently 2-1 on their season, while the Matadors come in to the showdown at 1-2, stinging from high scoring losses to area powerhouse teams from McCallum (63-31) and New Braunfels (69-42) in their pre-season.
Kickoff is scheduled at Lion Stadium at 7:30 p.m., immediately following the Homecoming festivities.