Lions defeat Austin Travis Rebels 14-6
By Alonzo Garza
The Lions charged onto a drenched field on Friday night and wrung out a muddy 14-6 victory over the Austin Travis Rebels.
Slippery conditions plagued the first quarter, as both teams struggled to get their bearings – and their footing. Each team had their fair share of dropped passes, as the first quarter ended scoreless.
The Rebels opened the second quarter with a touchdown, but missed the extra point kick. It would be the team’s only score of the evening.
As a light drizzle increased to a downpour, the Lions struggled to keep their bearings and get into the game. However, with 4:46 on the clock, the Lions did just that.
Senior standout Dominique Hardaway ran in a 35-yard touchdown, which Brooks Pittman answered with a solid extra point kick, ending the half with the Lions ahead 7-6.
“The Lion defense stepped up their game Friday night versus Austin Travis,” Head Lion Football Coach Robin Rapp said. “The defense recovered five fumbles, had one interception and blocked one field goal. They came up with some huge plays at critical times of the game. Our pass rush and pursuit of the ball was tremendous.”
The third quarter began with the Lions kicking to the Rebels for a first-and-ten at the 35-yard line. The Rebels opted to kick after three attempts at a first down and the Lions took over on the 45-yard line at 10:33.
The Lions, too, failed in three attempts at a first down, opting to punt and leaving the Rebels at first-and-ten on the 8-yard line. Three more attempts and one more punt put the ball back in Hardaway’s hands. He returned the punt from the 21-yard line for a first-and-ten.
A false start call drove the Lions back five yards, and a pass from quarterback Tyler Tolley to Kendall Till went incomplete. Finally, at 6:15, Tolley finds Hardaway on a fourth-and-15 pass to the 10-yard line.
Flags flew as Hardaway rushed for another five yards.
After the officials called a false start against the Rebels for being off sides, the Rebel defense locked down on the Lions, blocking Hardaway’s touchdown attempt at the 5-yard line.
A few hiccups later, another Tolley-Hardaway pass connects for a touchdown, followed by another extra point kick by Pittman.
Possessions traded back and forth, but neither team could close the deal.
Although Pittman snagged an interception and Tony Moreno recovered a fumble in the last moments of the game, the rest of the game remained scoreless.
“Even though we did not put up a big point production, the offense came up with some big third and fourth conversions to sustain drives and maintain field position,” Rapp said. “In sloppy field conditions, field position is everything. The offense’s ability to do that, outstanding defensive play and the kicking game was the difference in the game.”
Hardaway rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown with 28 carries. Tolley rushed for four yards with seven carries and went 6-12 with one touchdown pass.
Hardaway, Till and Brian Martinez received for the Lions. Hill led with two receptions for 29 yards, while Hardaway picked up two receptions for 22 yards and Martinez had two for five yards.
Defensive leaders included Moreno, Aurelio Garcia, Sam Yanez, John Madrigal and Brandon Pleasant. Moreno made three tackles, five assists, three fumble recoveries and two quarterback pressures. Garcia made a solo, five tackles, four assists and a fumble recovery. Yanez made two solos, three tackles, three assists, one quarterback pressure, one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal. Madrigal made three tackles, three assists and two quarterback hurries. Pleasant made a solo, one tackle and six assists.
The Lions host Austin Crockett during a Pop Warner Night at Lion Stadium on Friday, Sept 18 starting at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.