By Spencer Spilman
The Lehman Lobos football team had its ups and its downs Friday night as it hosted the Akins Eagles at Shelton Stadium for the Homecoming game. After going up big, the Lobos gave up 22 straight points, but managed to hang on and get the first win of the season, 42-35.
Lobos’ quarterback Jeremy Schilhab dominated the Eagles on the ground. Schilhab rushed for 61 yards on the first drive alone. The drive took over six minutes and the Lobos went 72 yards in 14 plays. Lehman capped off the long drive with a one-yard quarterback keeper from Schilhab to go up 7-0 early.
Akins bounced back quickly with a long drive of its own, doing all the damage on the ground. Eagles’ quarterback Ryan Medrano broke free for a 31-yard touchdown, but Akins missed the extra-point, proving costly.
Lobos’ Austin Lakey caught the ensuing kickoff and took it to the Eagles’ 25-yard line. Lehman wasted no time finding the end zone. Three plays later, Schilhab outran the defense and went nine yards to put Lehman up 14-6.
Lehman recovered a fumble by Akins’ Medrano. Schilhab continued his dominance on the ground when he beat everyone on his way to a 15-yard touchdown.
But he didn’t stop at three touchdowns.
With just over two minutes left in the half, Schilhab found a hole and didn’t look back. His longest run of the night, 25 yards, put Schilhab into the end zone for his fourth rushing touchdown of the first half. The score also gave Lehman a 28-6 lead going into halftime.
Schilhab credited his offensive line for success.
“It feels great,” Schilhab said. “We have a great offensive line. They’re really physical, and we love running behind those guys.”
Akins came out of the half strong. The Eagles went 75 yards on 10 plays — all on the ground — to find the end zone. That drive set a trend for the second half that did not please Lobos Head Coach Todd Raymond.
“We mentally relaxed, and we let them back in the game,” Raymond said after the game.
Lehman came back strong after the Akins touchdown. Schilhab allowed one of his teammates to find the end zone — John Herrera ran it in from seven yards out to put the Lobos up 35-13.
Everything seemed to be firing on all cylinders for the Lobos when they recovered an Akins fumble on the next drive. The first play following the recovery, Schilhab aired it out and found a wide open Jaren Sayles for a 30-yard touchdown. Lehman was in command with a 42-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Suddenly the offense stalled and the defense started falling apart.
Akins’ moved the ball down the field in just four plays, capping off a 66-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run from Kweisi Hurd. The Eagles failed on the two-point conversion.
Akins’ next possession took two plays as backup quarterback Mike Gonzales rushed it in from five yards out, and then threw the two-point conversion to bring the Eagles to 42-27.
Just two minutes later the Eagles found the end zone again. A pass from Gonzales to Tashaun Williams went 73 yards for a huge touchdown, along with the two-point conversion to make it 42-35.
Lehman kept things exciting by giving the Eagles the ball back after a punt.
Everything seemed to be fading away until the Lobos put a big hit on Gonzales, jarring the ball loose, which Lobos’ Eddie Villarreal recovered. The Lobos managed to get the win, 42-35.
The Lobos will look to string together a few wins in a row as they face off against cross-town rival Hays Rebels this Friday.