Despite enduring effort the Lehman Lady Lobos volleyball team fell to the Vista Ridge Lady Rangers Tuesday night in straight sets, 25-22, 25-10, 25-17.
The first set was the most competitive and contentious of the three with Vista Ridge appearing lackadaisical to start while conversely, Lehman was playing with maximum energy.
“It’s a long drive over here,” said Vista Ridge head coach Holly Lamb. “It’s hot, and I think a lot of that attributes to why we might have started a little slower. It’s a drive, you sit for a while and it took a little while to get our motors going. So that’s probably why we started slow.”
When asked about the energy both on the court and on the bench, Lady Lobo’s head coach Kathryn Legh-Page preaches having excitement for the game to her players, or “staying hype” as the team puts it.
“If you have energy on the bench, it will transfer to the court. And if you have energy on the court it will transfer to the score,” Legh-Page said.
Although they were out-hustled, the Lady Rangers secured the first set, 25-22.
The questions going into set two were can Lehman maintain such a high level of energy, and can Vista Ridge find a source of energy at all.
These questions were quickly answered as Vista Ridge jumped out to an early 20-6 lead, and eventually winning by a score of 25-10.
The surge of energy the Lady Rangers needed came through impressive showings from their defense.
“Our defense has done a really good job this year of keeping us in games,” said Lamb. “It seems to really get us back into our system. I’m really proud of the way our defense comes together and keeps us in long rallies.”
Momentum in the third set originally belonged to Lehman. After expending all the energy they had, the Lobos managed to take an 11-10 lead. However this lead was brief, as the change seemingly woke Vista Ridge up as they immediately matched Lehman’s energy and let their talent do the rest, closing the set on a 14-6 run, winning 25-17.
Although any loss is disheartening, Legh-Page was proud of her team and remained confident for the future.
“We’ve come a long way,” said Legh-Page. “There’s literally nothing negative I can say. Comparing where we were with this team in the first round, sometimes the score doesn’t show it, but our hustle, our demeanor; it’s just completely different. So their improvement is positive.”
The Lehman Lady Lobos are back in action Friday night as they take on the state ranked (19) Westlake Chaparrals.
KYLE – The Lehman Lobos (1-2) picked up their first win in nearly two years as they cruised past the Akins Eagles (2-1) 42-7 Friday at Shelton Stadium.
The Lobos put on a show for their homecoming crowd as they controlled the line of scrimmage from the opening whistle on. They scored on their first three drives to push the score to 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 35-0 by halftime. Things slowed down in the 2nd half, with Lehman and Akins scoring one touchdown a piece.
Akins head coach Humberto Garza was very complimentary of the Lobos, but believed it was a combination of a lack of energy and focus that were responsible for their defeat.
“We didn’t do a good job,” Garza said. “They came off fired up and ready to go. They played a great ball game we didn’t. We had penalties, turnovers and gave them the ball on critical downs. They were just better than us tonight in all three phases. What can you say, hats off to coach Raymond and the Lobos. They did a great job tonight.”
This was a monumental victory, and a huge stepping stone for the Lehman football program. After dealing with a tough season in 2015, and having to manage a medley of injuries at the beginning of this season, Lehman needed this victory.
“I’m proud of the kids,” head coach Todd Raymond said. “We needed this. We needed this to believe, to get over that hump a little bit.”
The Lobo offense revolves around a “three-headed monster” as Todd Raymond puts it. The players who make up this monster include QB Jacob Zamora, RB Bryan Mendoza and hybrid WR/RB Tyler Henderson.
The star of the night was senior Bryan Mendoza, #17, who led the Lobos rushing attack with 178 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.
“”I just got more opportunities,” Mendoza said. “And when I got those opportunities, I just showed out.”
Senior captain Tyler Henderson rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns on the night, before being sidelined for the 2nd half with another lower-leg injury.
Lobo quarterback Jacob Zamora was finally back to fully health, and was able to show what he was truly capable of. The senior went 17-25, at one time completing 11 consecutive throws, for 161 yards and one rushing TD. His two primary weapons through the air were juniors Braden Sullins and Chastin Evans. Sullins, #80, recorded 10 catches for 90 yards, and Evans, #88, had 3 receptions for 37 total yards.
“You saw what we’re capable of,” Raymond said. “We were healthy for the first time tonight, really since the first half of Westwood, and what you saw offensively is what we were hoping to be all year.”
Raymond credited the offensive fire power and their ability to distribute the ball to a number of diverse threats, but gave the upmost respect to the defense for their outstanding play.
“The defense played their tails off. They just pounded those kids,” Raymond said. “I’m proud of the defense. I’m just proud of the effort all around that our kids gave tonight,”
Lehman’s defense was led by defensive tackle Carl Ferguson, who recorded a fumble recovery and sack, and junior defensive back Kaleb Priestly, who had two interceptions and a number of pass deflections on the night.
Akins’ lone touchdown came on a 49 yard run by senior quarterback Demarcus Cabezas. Cabezas finished the game 4-15 for 76 yards in the air, and 49 yards on the ground. Other Akins contributors include running back Kenan Lockhart with 56 yards on 16 carries.
Final score: Lehman High: 42 – Akins High: 7
The Lehman Lobos are back in action on Friday, September 16 at 7:30 with a non-conference game against Jay in San Antonio.
Since Lehman High was founded in 2004, the Lobo varsity boys basketball program has never had a winning season.
In his first season as Lobo head coach, Michael Whitten led the Lobos to a 3-20 record.
On first glance this appears to be an abysmal record, but this is somewhat misleading. For a (3-20) record, a combined points for of 1129 and a combined points against of 1412 is a telling statistic. Furthermore, 9 of Lehman’s 20 losses last season ended as single digit games.
When asked how he plans on improving the Lobo’s ability to close out games, Whitten said that he believes the experience his players gained in multiple close games last season is the most important factor for success this coming season.
“I just think they’re really hungry to be back in those type of situations and begin finishing these things off,” said Whitten. “Hopefully we can do that this year, but I definitely believe our experience coming back is going to be a huge part of it.”
Although the Lobos are returning 10 juniors, the loss of senior Aaron Rodriguez is a significant one. Rodriguez led the Lobo’s in points, assists and steals per game.
However, Whitten said the balance of the Lobos this season will create even more problems for their opponents. Their offensive approach is to share the ball more, exploiting the mismatch wherever it may be.
“Teams last year were just trying to stop him so he really got a lot of attention,” said Whitten. “I think with our core, our top 7-8 guys, they’re all capable of scoring. I just believe we’re gonna be a much more balanced team.”
One player Whitten did mention specifically was sophomore Cameron Jones. Jones was a freshman last season, but managed to work his way into the starting lineup for multiple games.
“He’s gonna be a great player,” Whitten said. “Obviously he’s still young and learning but, he’s able to do some things as a sophomore this year that some seniors have trouble with.”
Although he admitted that fall league is not always the most accurate barometer of success, Whitten was very pleased with his team’s performance.
“We only lost one game this year,” said Whitten. “The previous year we had only won two games. So that’s a positive sign for the future of our team.”
Whitten believes that both his and his team’s experience and preparation for the types of teams they will face in district play will play the biggest role in the Lobo’s success.
“We’re more of a well-oiled machine, and obviously we have a long way to go, but I really like where our guys are at,” said Whitten. “What last year did for us as far as experience, being in so many close games and just not quite getting it done, I just think they’re hungry.”