Lions season comes to end vs. Flour Bluff￼
By Kyle Mooty
SAN ANTONIO — Fireworks were booming just to the east of Alamo Stadium late in Friday night’s second-round playoff game and Lockhart needed just one more spark, but the dream season ended as the Lions fell short, 49-42, to Corpus Christi’s Flour Bluff.
Lockhart ended its season at 8–4, an improbable run after back-to-back years of 0-9 (2020) and 2-8 (2021).
Flour Buff led by as many as 14 on two occasions, but the Lions fought back to tie the Hornets both times and had a chance to score on its final drive. Had they scored, Lockhart Head Coach Todd Moebes said there was no doubt his team would have gone for two points and the lead.
Flour Bluff, which improved to 9-3 with its eighth consecutive win, will host Veterans Memorial (9-3) Friday night. The Patriots beat Sharyland, 35-23, in their second-round game. The only other team still alive in the playoffs from District 13 is Liberty Hill (11-1), which rolled over Mercedes, 63-14. The Panthers have scored 63 points in each of their playoff games so far.
Flour Bluff took the opening drive and scored in seven plays, capped off by sophomore quarterback Jayden Paluseo’s one-yard run. Kyler Meschi’s PAT gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 10:05 left in the first quarter.
Lockhart needed just two plays to tie the Hornets, scoring on Dickens’ 56-yard sprint with 9:34 left in the first. Omar Ocampo’s PAT made it 7-7.
Flour Bluff needed eight plays to regain the lead, scoring on Paluseo’s 23-yard pass to Wyatt Elwood with 6:59 left in the first. Meschi was true on the PAT for a 14-7 lead.
Lockhart used the remainder of the clock in the first quarter and scored on the first play of the second period when Dickens’ ran it in from four yards on, capping off a 14-play drive. Ocampo’s kick made it 14-14 with 11:56 left in the second.
Flour Bluff used seven plays to go back on top, scoring on Jayden Johnson’s 32-yard run. Meschi’s kick made it 21-14 with 9:26 left in the half.
Flour Bluff then recovered a mishandled pooch kickoff by the Lions at the Lockhart 38. It took just two plays to take a 28-14 lead when Paluseo connected with Meschi on a 35-yard pass. Meschi kicked the PAT with 8:47 left in the half.
Lockhart cut into its deficit with another sustained drive, this one taking 12 plays and capped off by Dicken’s three-yard run with 3:17 left in the half. Ocampo’s PAT made it 28-21.
The Lions forced the Hornets to punt and promptly drove from their own 11 to the Flour Bluff 31, but Dickens was stripped of the ball on a first-down run and Aiden Tovar returned it 68 yard for a FB TD with just 22 seconds left in the half. Meschi’s PAT made it 35-21.
Lockhart responded to open the second half, driving 71 yards in nine plays. On third-and-nine, Dickens found Gabe Deutsch across the middle for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was blocked, and with 7:42 left in the third Flour Bluff led35-27.
Lockhart’s Deandre Clay recovered the onsides kick, and the Lions drove 55 yards in seven plays to reach paydirt again. McKinney did the honors with a powerful eight-yard run. Dickens then passed for the game-tying two-pointer to Zakaya Gathings with 5:11 left in the third, leaving the score at 35-35.
Flour Bluff used a 39-yard kickoff return to set up in good field position for its next drive, which included a pair of fourth-down pass conversions. Jose Martinez scored on a two-yard run with 45 seconds left in the third. Meschi’s PAT made it 42-35.
Early in the fourth period, the Lions capped an eight-play drive, scoring with 10:18 left in the fourth. Dickens’ run from the three was fumbled into the end zone, but Blake Herzog was there for the recovery and the score. Ocampo’s kick made it 42-42.
Flour Bluff used just five plays to reclaim the lead at 49-42 when Jayden Johnson’s 43-yard catch and run (from Paulseo) was followed by Meschi’s PAT with 8:05 remaining.
Lockhart began its final drive at its own 25 and used just five plays to reach the Flour Bluff 28. Dickens’ scramble to the 19 was nullified by a holding call, and the Lions never recovered, punting on fourth-and-25 from the Flour Bluff 43.
Moebes left no doubt that the Lions would have gone for two had they scored.
“Absolutely,” he said. “All day long. I already told (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Josh) Gilbert to get his two-point play ready.”
The Hornets ran out the remaining 3:59, including a third-and-nine pass with 1:33 remaining.
Lockhart finished with 28 first downs to 19 for Flour Bluff, and each team felt the wrath of penalties with Lockhart having 10 for 71 yards and Flour Bluff nine for 88.
The Lions amassed 435 of total offense, including 251 on the ground by Dickens and another 81 through the air. McKinney added 96 yards rushing. Diante Jackson was the leading receiver with three catches for 39 yards, while Herzog had two for 28.
Paluseo was 15-of-18 through the air for 267 yards.
Diante Jackson had three receptions for Lockhart for 39 yards while Herzog hauled in two for 28. Senior Sean McKinney also rushed 17 times for 96 yards.
“They are tremendous young men, first of all,” Moebes said of McKinney and Dickens. “It was a team effort to allow them to get plus yardage. McKinney is getting some interest. Hopefully, that will pick up now that the season is over. Dickens has already got some interest but that too will probably pick up come spring.”
Dickens finished with 1,939 yards, second only in school history to Dominic Hardaway’s 1,984 in 2008.
Moebes kept the players on the field for a postgame talk, telling them it may not seem like it at the moment, but they had accomplished great things.
“I just told them that I was proud of every one of them,” Moebes said. “They just had the greatest season in half a century for Lockhart. Obviously, that wasn’t on their mind at the time.
“We still have room for improvement. After what we accomplished it makes the goals seem more attainable. Lockhart hasn’t been to the third round of the playoffs since 1955, but we were just a play or two away from doing just that.”