The regular season in high school football will end Friday night at Bob Shelton Stadium (7:30 p.m.) for the two teams that call it home, the Lehman Lobos and the Hays Rebels. But Friday could be the night when the Hays-Lehman rivalry finally begins.
Lehman head coach Steve Davis has often said it’s not a rivalry until each team has won, a condition he would hope to fill Friday night with the first Lehman win in four meetings. Hays head coach Bob Shelton the game already is a rivalry that keeps getting bigger and bigger.
For those on the fence as to whether three dominating Hays victories in the series is the stuff of rivalry, a new condition is in play. The Lobos come to the Hays game in competition for the playoffs, contemplating the scenarios for extending their season.
The Rebels have no such problem. They clinched a playoff berth two weeks ago. Now, they need a game to rid themselves of the last one, a 27-21 overtime loss last week at Del Valle that denied the Rebels a District 17-4A title.
“We’ve got to put that game behind us,” Shelton said. “That’s one of those games that will linger with you if you let it.”
The Lobos have had a couple of those in the last two weeks — a 34-28 overtime loss at Del Valle followed by a 21-14 loss at home last Friday against Lockhart.
As it turned out, a win in the Lockhart game would have clinched Lehman’s first playoff berth in four years of varsity football history. Now, the Lobos are in a peculiar situation. Conceivably, they could win Friday against Hays and still fall short of the playoffs. Or, the Lobos could lose to Hays and go to the playoffs.
If the Lobos (5-4 overall, 1-3 District 17-4A) win Friday night, they would still need Lockhart (4-5, 1-3) to lose at home against Manor (2-7, 2-2). If the Lobos finish in a straight tie with Lockhart, or in a three-way with Lockhart and Manor, then the Lobos would be eliminated because they lost to both teams this year. If Elgin joins that tie, so that four teams would be 2-3 in the district, then Lehman would still be eliminated.
If the Lobos, Lockhart and Elgin all lose, though, creating a three-way tie for fourth place at 1-4 in the league, then Lehman would go to the playoffs. The Lobos have defeated Elgin (21-6) and lost to Lockhart (21-14). Elgin defeated Lockhart (32-8). Head to head, then, all three teams would be 1-1 and the next step is positive point differential (margin of victory) in those games, up to a maximum 15 points per win. So, Lehman gets 15 points for its win against Elgin, Elgin gets 15 for its win against Lockhart and Lockhart gets seven points for its win against Hays. Thus, Lockhart would be eliminated and it would go to head-to-head between Lehman and Elgin, which was a Lehman victory.
Shelton has been in those tangles before. This year, he isn’t. The Rebels (3-6, 3-1) will finish second in the district, win or lose Friday night.
“I don’t have to worry about it,” Shelton said. “We’re concerned, primarily, with getting the team ready for the playoffs.”
Hays has dominated the young series, winning the first three games between the Hays CISD high schools by a combined score of 148-20. But Lehman has gained a little bit at a time. The Rebels won 56-0 in 2006, 50-13 in 2007 and 42-7 in 2008. Now, the Lobos come to the game not merely wanting to beat Hays, but needing a win to keep their season alive.
“This is the best team they’ve had,” Shelton said. “They lost two overtime games in the district and could have easily won both. They’re a lot better.”
Another mark that the gap is closing might be read into Thursday night’s junior varsity game between the two programs. Lehman won, 15-14.
“Hopefully, that’s a good omen,” Davis said.
A better omen for Davis would be a stand-up performance by his defense, which had allowed only 231.4 yards per game last week, then gave up 175 rushing yards to Lockhart’s Dominique Hardaway alone.
The Rebels aren’t an easy team to stop on the ground. In their last four games, they have rushed for 276.5 yards per game. Along with that, Hays quarterback Sam Breyfogle has completed 29 of 41 passes in those four games for 591 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
Offensively, the Lobos rely on the running of Jacob Torres, who is approaching 1,000 rushing yards this year, along with quarterbacks Harvest Trammell and Matt Anguiano, whoever has the hot hand. But the Hays defense has been tough lately, allowing 234.8 yards per game in district competition.Email | Print