Lions slip in defensive catfight
By LPR Staff
In their first time playing in the last grass stadium in District 26-5A, the Lions put up a strong defensive battle, but ultimately fell 14-7 to the Medina Valley Panthers on Friday.
The Panthers started the night hot, chewing only 93 seconds off the clock before striking pay dirt on their first drive of the night.
The Lions answered with a strong push back, but a penalty and a fumble for a loss put Lockhart at third-and-19 and effectively forcing the punt.
The Lion defense held for the remainder of the quarter, and in fact through the half. Unfortunately, Lockhart’s offense was unable to capitalize on some key opportunities.
Late in the half, Daetron Ellison stole the show with an interception and return to put the Lions in Panther territory with 52 seconds on the clock. Despite the offense gaining ground, a Panther picked off a pass from quarterback Logan Brown, putting Medina Valley back in the driver’s seat with 10 seconds in the half.
Brown answered by closing the half with an interception of his own, preventing the Panthers from increasing their lead before the break.
Regrouped after the halftime break, the Lions came back fresh, needing less than a minute to tie the score, thanks to a 77-yard rush by Daequan Ellison and fast footwork from Logan Schnautz, who found the end zone. The Lions’ consistent kicker, Juan Ocampo easily split the uprights, calculating for a strong north wind to tie the score.
The Lions stopped the next Panther drive to turn over on downs, but the offense continued to stumble, achieving first downs, but assessing penalties, before eventually fumbling for a turnover that allowed Medina Valley to put together a scoring drive and open up their lead to 14-7 as the fourth quarter began.
The Lions maintained control for the bulk of the fourth quarter, putting together a series of slow, steady gains. Bad luck struck again, though, a Panther defender took Dqn. Ellison down in the backfield, followed by a penalty and a fumble that put the Lions at third-and-30, and finally turning over on downs.
As the Panthers took control of the clock, they allowed time to run out on the Lions for the 14-7 loss.
“We have had some really bad breaks in key games this year,” Head Coach Brian Herman said. “We did not struggle moving the ball, we just didn’t get to the end zone enough. When you hold a team to 14 points you expect to win, but fumbles have a huge impact.”
The Lions will have their final home game of the season on Friday, as they look to put a win on the board against the Marble Falls Mustangs. Like the Lions, the Mustangs have struggled this season, only just picking up their first win, over the Seguin Matadors, on Friday.
“They have a very talented quarterback, solid receivers, a big offensive line and a couple strong running backs,” Herman said. “Defensively, they have improved throughout the season. Their win over Seguin was very impressive. Our biggest concern is their size and efficiency in all phases of the game. In order to win we must win in special teams, tackle well and not turn the ball over.”
Hungry to break their drought, the Lions are eager to put on a show for their fans in their final home game of the season.
“Regardless of how fans may feel about schemes, scores or records, these kids have battled through off season, summer workouts and three months of a frustrating season, and they [will] continue to fight ‘til the finish,” he said. “I hope that the fans appreciate and applaud their efforts, from kickoff through the School Song.”
He noted most of his teammates are more confident, more focused, and want to perform better before large, engaged crowds.
“They proved, several times this season, that a loud, supportive crowd is an effective defensive weapon, especially when it comes to the focus to make those big third- and fourth-down stops,” he said. “The kids take in the energy of the crowd, and feel their support from start to finish.”
Celebrating Alumni Night, the Lions kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Lion Stadium. Tickets are available at all LISD campuses, the Lion Athletic Office at #1 Lion Country Drive, and at the gate on game night.