Lions roar back at Rebel yells, fall 43-32
By Alonzo Garza
Lions Stadium was full on Friday night for the Lockhart Lions’ district opener game. The Lions faced the heavily-favored Hays Rebels for what turned out to be a high scoring game for both teams. The Rebels ultimately won, but not without a fight from the all-but-unstoppable Lion offense that kept answering the Rebels’ yell with
a Lion’s roar at every turn. The final score was 43-32.
“I’m proud of each and everyone of these guys,” Head Football Coach Troy Moses said after the game. “They fought hard all the way to the end. Each game we’ve played a tougher opponent and each game we’ve gotten better and better.”
Hays led the scoring in the game from the beginning. The Rebels started with a field goal kick with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter. The 3-0 lead and the quarter would belong entirely to Hays.
In the second quarter, Hays scored 14 additional points to Lockhart’s seven seven points on the board. The quarter started with another Hays touchdown and extra point for a 10-0 score with 10:08 remaining. Lockhart’s seven points came from a 59-yard touchdown by Casey Butler and an extra point kick by Gerald Cuellar for a 10-7 score at 8:20.
Flags against both teams flew during the quarter. Hays got flags for intentional grounding at 7:30 and a flag for holding and a loss of ten yards at 2:12. Moses got a sideline warning flag and a stern promise from an official at 1:56. Moses claimed continuation. With tempers flaring and determination intensifying on both sidelines, the Rebels scored their second touchdown of the quarter with 37 seconds remaining. The extra point kick was good. The quarter and the first half ended at 17-7.
After halftime, the third quarter began with the Lions’ Zachary Leija scoring a 4-yard run touchdown with 9:53 remaining in the quarter. A good kick by Cuellar changed the score to 17-14. The Rebels answered back with a touchdown and a field goal within two minutes for a new score of 24-14.
The Rebels received another penalty for holding during the third quarter as the ball was moved back and forth until Hays scored yet another touchdown. The kick failed and the quarter would end at 30-14.
The fourth quarter was definitely the best quarter for the Lions. They outscored the Rebels 19-13. Some key points came from Cuellar, who caught a 14-yard pass from Michael Oliva for a touchdown with 9:15 remaining in the game.The extra point kick by Cuellar was good for a score of 30-20.
By 7:10 the Rebels scored again. Both the touchdown and the extra point kick were good for a new score of 37-20.
After that, the game became a battle for possession of the ball. At 5:17 the Lions had a first-and-10 on the 17-yard line. At 5:08 the ball was fumbled and the Rebels recovered the ball for a first-and-10 at the 1-yard line.
By 3:56 the Rebels decided to punt on a third-and-7. The Lions took over at the 17-yard line with 3:25 left on the clock and then got to a fourth-and-1 by the 2-minute warning.
At 1:49, the Lions had a first-and-goal. The sidelines and stands were screaming. With 1:38 left in the game, Butler rushed four yards for a Lion touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed with an incomplete pass. The score stood at 26-37 with 1:29 remaining in the game.
Unfortunately, the Rebels were able to retain their overall lead until the end. Hays went on to score a final touchdown by running the ball straight down the middle of the field with 1:20 left to spare. Their kick was no good so the score went to 43-26.
Clinging on to a “never say die” spirit of competition, the Lions came back to close the game with an unbelievable display of relentless determination and scored, what can only be described as a miraculous touchdown, with a 27-yard pass to Jacob Castillo by Christian Estrada. The two-point conversion pass was incomplete so the game ended with an incredible 43-32 score.
“The truth is we played better. We fought harder. We stepped up. A win is coming our way,” Moses said before heading to the lockers.
According to the Austin American Statesman’s Central Texas High School Football Statistics, Butler is now in third place in the Class 4A-rushing statistics with 521 yards in 74 carries. He is only three yards behind the second place, Ryan Perez of New Braunfels who has 524 yards to his credit.
The Lions play the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars at Canyon on Friday, Oct. 5.
See you at the game.