Varsity Lions lose district opener by one point
By Alonzo Garza
The Varsity Lions started district play with a 33-34 loss to the Del Valle Cardinals at Lion Field on Friday, Oct. 10.
“Our kids played a great game Friday night,” Head Coach Troy Moses said. “I am very proud of the effort that we played with. It is always tough to lose a close game like that, but we have to learn from
it and move on.”
The Cardinals scored the first touchdown of the night at 10:07 in the first quarter. Tyrell Avery scored the touchdown with a 13-yard run. The extra point kick by Moses Reyes was good for a score of 7-0.
The Lions answered with a 58-yard touchdown run by Dominique Hardaway. Michael Pittman’s kick was good for a tied score at 7.
Both teams kept punting the ball to each other for the remainder of the first quarter.
The most excitement came after the Lions punted to the Cardinals with three minutes left on the clock. The Cardinals fumbled the return and there was a scramble for the ball. When the officials called it a Del Valle ball the Lions fans were audibly upset. They booed and shamed the officials into calling for a punt do-over. The first ended at 7-7.
The second quarter was the most productive quarter for both teams. The Lions and the Cardinals each scored 14 points for their team.
The Lions scored first with a 65-yard touchdown run by Hardaway at 7:56. Pittman’s kick was good for the extra point.
Del Valle answered with 2-yard run by Jozef Cortez at 5:34. The Cardinal kick failed for a score of 13-14.
Lockhart got back on the board with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Tolley to Randy Castillo with 58 seconds remaining in the half. Pittman’s kick was good for a score of 21-13 and the Lions in the lead.
Del Valle rallied back with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Davion Johnson from Cortez with three seconds left in the half. The Cardinals were far from done with scoring in the first half. They took advantage of the remaining three seconds and successfully executed a two-point conversion play with Johnson passing to Cortez. The first half ended with a tie at 21.
The Lions came out roaring in the third quarter, scoring the first touchdown of the second half at 6:36. Hardaway made a 1-yard run into the end zone for 27-21 lead. The extra point kick was blocked and the official’s whistles, which ruled the kick “no good,” broke up a scramble for the ball.
At 6:16 Del Valle fumbled the kick return only to recover it and have a Cardinal carry it all the way in for a touchdown. With flags on the play, officials discussed the matter and ruled against Del Valle. No touchdown and a personal foul penalty against the Cardinals got the Del Valle fans on their feet, booing and jeering after the call.
Lockhart scored its last touchdown of the night at 1:43 with a 12-yard run from Kory Robbins. Pittman’s kick was no good for a score of 33-21.
With 1:17 left in the third, the Cardinals put another seven points on the board with a 65-yard touchdown run by Avery and a good kick from Reyes ending the third with the Lions still in the lead, 32-28.
The fourth quarter was full of missed opportunities for both teams, who seemed too tired to battle effectively. Missed passes, penalty flags and fumbles plagued the fourth.
It was in the last minute of the game, after reaching the 15-yard line with short gains, that the Cardinals were able to score with a touchdown run by Cortez for a score of 33-34.
With 54 seconds to go, the Cardinals attempted a two-point conversion and failed. They tried it again, but the Lions stopped them. Del Valle kicked to the Lions as the stands roared in support of their respective teams.
The last minute of the game was intense, with all the fans on their feet, cheering loudly as the game came to a close.
Lion Christian Estrada returned the ball to the 33-yard line with 46 seconds remaining. Del Valle called a time out. A pass to Zachary Leija was completed for a second-and-five. Del Valle called another timeout with 41 seconds remaining. At 36 seconds remaining, Tolley’s pass to Castillo was incomplete. At 32 seconds, Tolley’s pass was completed for a second-and-four. Tolley’s pass got knocked down for a third-and-four with 28 seconds left, but it was during the fourth-and-four play that all hopes for a Lion win were shattered after a Cardinal interception.
Del Valle took over possession of the ball on the 34-yard line with 23 seconds to go. Cortez took a knee to win the game 33-34 for the Cardinals.
“What it comes down to is that we made too many mistakes to beat a good team like Del Valle,” Moses said. “We had some opportunities to make some big plays and were not able to get it done. I am very confident that we will bounce back and have a great showing against Hays. We have a very good football team. We are starting to come together and I think the best is yet to come.”
Hardaway rushed for 212 yards with 31 carries in the game, while Leija rushed for 89 yards with 13 carries. Robbins rushed for 41 yards with four carries and Richard Ybarra rushed for 20 with five.
Lockhart had 20 first downs to Del Valle’s 14. Lockhart got half the penalties Del Valle did with four penalties for a loss of 40-yards. Del Valle got eight penalties for a loss of 55-yards.
Hardaway continues to improve his rushing record. He is currently 18 yards away from the number one spot in the Austin American-Statesman’s Central Texas High School Football Statistics. Devin Carver of Hutto leads with 986 yards while Hardaway is hot on his heels with 968.