Lehman players Branson Musselman, Matt Anguiano and John Martell face the band after the Lobos won their first district football game in their history Friday night, a 21-6 decision over Elgin at Bob Shelton Stadium. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By BILL PETERSON
KYLE — That obnoxious monkey is off their backs now, and they can, for the first time ever, look to the last three weeks of the football season as a playoff contender.
The Lehman Lobos accomplished all that and much more in a landmark victory for their program Friday night, a 21-6 win against Elgin at Bob Shelton Stadium. Finally, after 20 tries in four years, the Lobos have won a game within their district. The win brought them to 1-1 in the league and 5-2 overall, which means they can’t finish the season with a losing record.
Now four years into varsity football, Lehman further escaped from three years of desperate losing behind a defense that allowed only 158 total yards against Elgin. The Lehman quarterback, Harvest Trammell, took over the position this week and completed 14 of 21 passes for 171 yards.
Unlike in their losses against Gonzales and Manor in the last two games, the Lobos maintained their fourth quarter lead Friday night. They did it emphatically, taking the ball with a 14-6 lead at their own 43 with 7:41 to go, then going 57 yards in 13 deliberate plays to score on Trammell’s three-yard run with 59.5 seconds left.
With that, it was all but official. The players treated head coach Steve Davis to the Gatorade shower (actually, it was ice water) as the seconds wound down. Davis, who fought through a 6-24 record in his first three years at Lehman, almost fought tears in the aftermath of Friday’s game.
“The kids played their hearts out,” Davis said. “I’m happy for them and for the community. The coaching staff has hung in there … I’m very proud of our kids. It was a tough week after (last week’s overtime loss at Manor).”
Of all the Lobos’ achievements Friday night, Davis most often mentioned that they made it through an entire ball game without committing a personal foul. In fact, they were penalized only 45 yards, less than half of their average (99.7 penalty yards) entering the game.
In a school district that unified with Hays football through 40 years, Lehman opened as Hays CISD’s second high school in 2004. Since then, Lehman has slowly gained traction, although its students are generally less affluent and come from generally harsher circumstances than the Hays High School students. Friday’s win went some way towards shaking off Lehman’s image of losing on the football field.
“I’m grateful for every win we get,” Davis said. “It’s been tough, these last few years … I want the kids to win. We want the players to be able to experience working hard and being successful.”
Said Lehman High School Principal Elsa Hinojosa, who has run that school from the beginning, “I think it shows that students given the opportunity and resources and support from adults can do anything … Lehman is about giving kids opportunity.”
Lehman didn’t manage a first down with its first possession, but moved to three first downs with its next try before losing the ball on downs at the Elgin 18. The Lobos finished the job on their third possession, going 73 yards in seven plays for a touchdown.
Trammell started the drive with passes of 28 and 16 yards to John Martell. Later, Trammell completed a 26-yard pass to Matthew Riojas, placing the ball at the Elgin one after the pass bounced from the arms of an Elgin defender. Trammell ran the final yard to give Lehman a 7-0 lead.
Elgin moved swiftly in response, as Da’Rick Nolan ran 16 yards for a touchdown to end a 70-yard, eight-play drive. But Elgin missed the kick and Lehman maintained a 7-6 lead.
The Lobos quickly expanded that lead after Michael Aldridge returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to the Elgin 40. Jacob Torres covered 19 yards with a run, and Trammell threw the final nine yards to Riojas for a touchdown, giving Lehman a 14-6 lead with 2:40 left in the half.
The second half went back and forth, with neither team scoring or moving the ball especially well, until the Lobos went on the last drive to seal the win.
“That was exactly what our school needed,” said Lehman center Hayden Perry, a senior.
Now, the Lobos can think about the next step, for one more win would give them a decent shot at the playoffs from a six-team district. Next Friday night, the Lobos go to Del Valle, which is 2-0 in District 17-4A.
Del Valle is tied on top of the league with Hays, which is 2-0 after a 34-14 win at Lockhart Friday night. Lehman and Manor are tied at 1-1, while Elgin and Lockhart are 0-2. Friday’s loss dropped Elgin to 1-6 overall.Email | Print