Fighting the good fight

Lions lose to Dripping Springs in final regular season game

Offensive Coordinator Dustin Pleasant comforting his football players after the loss against Dripping Springs. The football players were allowed to go to their families and friends after the game.

The Lions played their final game of the year against the Dripping Springs Tigers Friday night in Dripping Springs and lost by two points with a score of 44-46. In order to make the playoffs if they lost, the Lions also needed Vandegrift to win, but Georgetown came out with a win against the Vipers.

“It’s almost indescribable [to play my final game],” senior Ty Worthy said. “Growing up with these guys has been amazing. And we got to watch each other grow and develop. We decided this year we were [going to] change the culture of our program and I think we definitely did that.”

The Tigers scored first in the first quarter after a Lion fumble. Early in the second quarter, the Lions recovered a Dripping Springs fumble, and senior Matthew Long used the momentum to score a touchdown, tying the game 7-7. With 9:35 remaining in the second quarter, the Tigers scored another touchdown, and after a blocked PAT, the Tigers led 7-13. On the Lions’ next drive junior Parker McNeil threw a touchdown pass to sophomore Dalton Flowers, giving the lead back to the Lions 14-13. With 1:19 remaining in the half, the Tigers regained the lead with a touchdown making the game 14-20. With six seconds left in the half, Long scored his second touchdown of the game, regaining the lead to go in at halftime at 21-20.

“They did good,” Head Coach Tim Smith. “We felt like we were about to take control of the game in the 3rd quarter. [We] had some miscues in special teams and we lost field position, [but] our kids fought back.”

On the kickoff of the second half, Long scored a kickoff return for a touchdown, extending the lead to 28-20. On the next drive, the Lions forced another fumble, but Dripping Springs recovered. After two touchdowns by the Tigers and a failed two point conversion, the Tigers led the Lions 28-39. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored another touchdown, extending their lead to 28-46. 

I think this year I was given the opportunity, not only by the coaches, but by my brothers to step up as a player and as a leader. It’s a real honor.”

— Ty Worthy

It felt good to get the first score for the team,” Long said. “I just followed my blockers and the rest is history. It’s always a great feeling to score.”

On the Lions’ next drive, McNeil threw a 68 yard pass to senior Gabriel Sanchez, followed by a pass from McNeil to Worthy for a touchdown a few plays later. Worthy’s two point conversion put the game closer at 46-36.

“When I first scored I didn’t think it would be my last at all,” Worthy said. “I thought it was the start of a comeback, but it was very satisfying. I was fighting for my brothers and that’s what makes every touchdown special. I think this year I was given the opportunity, not only by the coaches, but by my brothers to step up as a player and as a leader. It’s a real honor.”

Then, on the next drive, junior Godswill Nwakamma recovered a Dripping Springs fumble. McNeil threw another touchdown pass to Sanchez in the endzone, and after a flag for personal foul on Dripping Springs, the touchdown was good. Sanchez then scored the two point conversion to bring the game within two points, 46-44 with 41 seconds left. The Lions attempted an onside kick, but the Tigers recovered.

“I think we did pretty good,” Worthy said. “We almost made our run to the playoffs, but our seniors really stepped up and made the team what it is.”

The Lions finished with a 4-6 overall record, and a 3-4 record in district.

“I don’t think there was a motivation [behind the comeback],” Head Coach Tim Smith said. “It’s just the type of kids we have at Leander. They kept competing. Kept fighting. Our team knew what was at stake. Our seniors knew what was at stake. They just didn’t give up. It has been our motto all year. Molon Labe.”