As the Lehman Lobos continue the long quest for their first district victory in their high school football history, they show signs of being so close. And not close.
While the complexity of football strategy is often touted, to whatever far-flung degree, all too seldom is told the story of how little, tiny details really decide football games. But Lehman head coach Steve Davis can tell you all about it.
After 20 attempts at victory within their district, the Lobos remain, here and there, an inch away. Now playing their fourth year of varsity football, the Lobos are one win away from getting the monkey off their backs, assuring that they’ll at least finish .500 during the regular season, and placing themselves in the playoff hunt for District 17-4A.
But they still need to make up an inch here and an inch there.
“Little details not taken care of can mushroom into a big situation,” Davis said.
The Lobos will try again Friday night at Bob Shelton Stadium against Elgin (7:30 p.m.). Last Friday night at Manor, the Lobos had that elusive first district victory plainly in sight. And in the blink of an eye, it was gone.
Leading, 6-0, with three minutes left, the Lobos faced fourth and four at the 50. As well as their defense played all night, they punted. But they only got off a 15-yard punt and Manor started at its own 35. Then, the Lobos were called for two 15-yard penalties. And all it took then for Manor to tie the game at the end of regulation time was a 35-yard touchdown pass from Reggie Middleton to L.D. Williams.
The Lobos might have won the game, anyway, because Manor’s try for an extra point failed. But the Lobos missed their own extra point effort earlier in the game, after a three-yard touchdown run by Jacob Torres, perhaps because their placement holder had been declared ineligible due to of grades.
As it happened, Manor scored a touchdown in overtime, but missed the extra point. Then, the Lobos came to within a foot of the goal line on their turn, but fell short.
“We can’t keep making mental mistakes,” Davis said.
The Lobos only gained 203 total yards, but they held Manor to 144. They blew that advantage in penalties, being called for 120 yards, compared with 40 for Manor. The Lobos are penalized for 99.7 yards per game.
“We moved the ball and had a lot of big gains nullified by penalties and moved back,” Davis said.
So, the Lobos beat themselves, just when it’s looking like they can beat someone else. For a Lehman fan, it’s encouraging and discouraging at the same time.
Friday night, the Lobos will take their 4-2 overall record (0-1 District 17-4A) back to Jack C. Hays Trail against an Elgin team that comes in at 1-5 overall and 0-1 in the district. Elgin will return to Bob Shelton Stadium with a very recent, bad memory of the place, a 52-14 drubbing from Hays just last Friday night.
The Lehman defense brought its season average down to 241.2 yards per game with last week’s performance. This week’s opponent is averaging 197.25 yards per game on offense in the last four outings.
First and foremost, Davis is hoping to find that his team can take a punch. After two straight last-minute losses, just when that fifth win was right there, the team’s determination one way or the other figures to tilt the balance.
“We’re going to test our character and see how we bounce back,” Davis said. ” … We’ll be ready to play, I’ll promise you that. We just have to be sure we don’t do anything that will set ourselves back.”
At quarterback for Lehman, sophomore Matt Anguiano and junior Harvest Trammell continue sharing the snaps and the passes. The Lobos are averaging 102.2 passing yards per game this year.
On the ground, the answer has been Torres, who is averaging 113.3 rushing yards per game, though he didn’t really become the lead runner until the third game. The Lobos are rushing for 253.8 yards, buttressed by strong contributions from John Martell (296 yards), Charles Williams (155) and Richard Porche (152).Email | Print