Lions start season with solid 34-9 win
By Alonzo Garza
The Lions are back… and in a big way.
What started out as a potential loss for the Lions after the first quarter ended at 9-0 in favor of the Leopards, turned out to be an exciting 34-9 win for Lockhart on Friday night. The big win made La Grange the first team of the regular season to find out just how badly the Lions w
ant to make it to the playoffs this year.
“[I] Couldn’t be prouder,” Lion Head Football Coach Paul Kilby said immediately following the win. “I just couldn’t be any prouder of our young men. They never quit. They just kept plugging away. Stayed focused and did their job. Our defense was tremendous. They did an outstanding job tonight and I am very proud of them.”
The game began with the Leopards kicking off to the Lions. It was a short side kick recovered by senior Logan Zimmerhanzel for a first and ten at the 46-yard line. After a couple of plays, one of which was good for a first-and-ten thanks to junior Juan Marchan, the Lions punted to the Leopards, who took possession of the ball at the 20-yard line with 9:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Scoring began when the Leopards took advantage of an extremely high snap by the Lions. The play ended disastrously for junior Marcos Rodriguez, who ran chasing after the ball into the end zone. Half a dozen Leopards pounced on him for a safety and a score of 0-2 at 6:24.
The Leopards scored again at 2:19, adding a touchdown and a successful field goal and ending the first quarter at 0-9.
Second quarter action began with the Leopards in possession of the ball. After penalties against both teams and a long completed pass, the Leopards ended up at the Lion’s 14-yard line where they met strong resistance from the Lion defense. After futile attempts to move the ball forward the Leopards fumbled on a fourth-and-13 at the Lions’ 17.
Senior Drake Hinojosa recovered the fumble for a Lion first-and-ten at the 20 with 7:30 to go in the first half. The Lions scored their first touchdown on a 35-yard run by Marchan for a score of 6-9 at 4:08. The extra point was a failed pass attempt.
The Lions scored again with less than a minute to go in the half. Marchan ran the ball from the 33-yard line to the 4. His efforts were followed by a touchdown run by Joseph Bell. The two-point conversion attempt failed, ending scoring in the first half at 12-9.
Strong defensive plays kept the Leopards from scoring throughout the rest of the game. The Lions scored a third touchdown with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter. Rodriguez made the 4-yard touchdown run, and Marchan added to the score with a successful two-point conversion ending the scoring at 20-9 in the third.
“I was exceptionally pleased with our defense,” Kilby said. “It’s not often you hold people to 130 yards of total offense. Coach Barnes and the defensive staff did an outstanding job… and of course, the kids went out and executed.”
The Lions roared onto the field in the fourth quarter. Bell scored a touchdown with a 21-yard run and Rodriguez added a two-point conversion run for a score of 28-9, with 10:40 remaining in the game.
The Leopards fumbled the ball during a triple reverse play that went terribly wrong, landing the Lions with great field position at the 6-yard line. The final touchdown of the night was a one-yard run by Chris Jackson, followed by a failed two-point conversion attempt, ending the season opener at 34-9.
“We have come a long way,” Kilby said as he followed his team into the field house. “We have come a million miles in just four weeks and we know we have a million miles to go before we make it to the playoffs, but we will make it. That is our goal this year.”
The Lions finished with 20 first downs to La Grange’s six, and rushed for 369 yards keeping the Leopards at 44 yards in the game. Bell rushed 141 yards with 16 runs, while Marchan rushed 140 with the same amount of runs. Rodriguez rushed 63 yards with 11 carries while Jackson rushed 25 with four.
The Lions will host the Bellville Brahmas (1-0) at Lion Stadium on Friday, Sept. 2. The Old Timers’ game will begin at 7:30 p.m.
See you at the game.