By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
The academic year began at Lehman High School with the notion that a new athletic district should bring about a new attitude. On the football field, so far, the results are better than ever.
The Lobos are 3-2 this year, already setting their all-time record for victories in a football season and matching their win total from their first two years of varsity competition. So far, so good.
Except the district season hasn’t yet begun. That happens Friday night (7:30 p.m.), when the Lobos line up at Bob Shelton Stadium against a Manor squad, which, by the numbers, is easy to overlook. The Mustangs are 1-4, tied with Del Valle for the worst non-district record among the District 17-4A teams.
But the records are at least somewhat deceptive. The three Lehman victims are Lanier (0-6), Reagan (1-5) and Class 1A Reisel. Among the teams to defeat Manor are two-time Class 3A state champion Liberty Hill and Brownwood, an old-time state power.
So, it could be that Manor gives Lehman a good chance for its first district win in history, but that’s not as obvious as it would have seemed during the preseason.
‘I’m not looking at any records,” Lehman coach Steve Davis said. “Their schedule has been tougher than ours.”
Manor also has more speed than Lehman, according to Davis, and Manor also has more depth, including a roster of 28 seniors. Lehman’s entire roster at the start of this year was 28 players.
It remains, though that the Lobos have a bit going for them entering tonight’s game. To begin, their thin roster received a much-needed bye last week so the few players on their team could rest to some degree. That could loom large for an defense and a running game that have played with real grit at times this season.
Furthermore, the Lobos see a chance here. For a program with three wins in its first two seasons, the chance to take a playoff berth with as few as two district victories figures to be tantalizing. The question is whether that desire can pull Lehman through whatever rust might have accumulated from not playing last week.
“It’s a big game for us,” Davis said. “Our kids need to step up and seize the moment and take control of it. It’s time to do it.”
As always, the Lobos will hitch themselves to senior running back R.J. Hardaway, who has rushed for 577 yards in 90 carries this year. Quarterback Chris Duran, the best to emerge in three years of Lehman football, has rushed for 167 yards and passed for 515 completing 29 f 69 passes.
Manor rushes about 1.5 times for every time it passes, but it still has gained most of its yardage through the air (485 to 434). The Mustangs make big plays in the passing game, even though quarterback Riley Beecher completes just less than half of his passes (29 of 60).
Donte Moore has 11 catches for 193 yards, while Ted Jackson has made only three catches, but or 136 yards. L.D. Williams leads the Manor ground attack with 276 yards.
Beyond the Manor weapons Lehman needs to cap Friday night, Davis is more concerned about the sharpness of his team’s execution. Cutting down turnovers is one important goal for this team, which can’t afford to constantly be running its defense onto the field.
But just making clean plays is even more crucial. Davis said the Lobos missed five potentially huge pass plays in their last game, a 25-7 loss at Gonzales on Sept. 26. Three of them missed because the passer didn’t deliver the ball to an open man, and the other two failed because a receiver dropped a catchable ball.
“We can’t turn the ball over the way we have been,” Davis said. “We have to play the best game we’ve played all season.”
After all, a chance to contend for the playoffs is at stake.Email | Print