By Moses Leos III
The Lehman Lobos were a quarter away from putting their lengthy losing streak into the history books on Friday.
But 12 unanswered Del Valle Cardinal points in the fourth quarter sunk the Lobos in a heartbreaking 15-14 homecoming loss at Shelton Stadium.
Lehman (0-7, 0-5) dropped its 13th straight game in a row, which dates back to September 2014.
Both teams got off to a slow start as Lehman and Del Valle combined for one first down over the first six drives.
Lehman caught a break late in the first quarter via an errant snap on a punt attempt by Del Valle.
The Lobos, which recovered the ball at the 4-yard-line, cashed in on the ensuing play as running back Bryan Mendoza powered his way for the score. Lehman led 7-0 after the first quarter and added to it in the second frame.
After forcing a turnover on downs, the Lobo offense countered with a 13-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Mendoza’s number was called again as he plowed his way for a one-yard touchdown run that gave Lehman a 14-0 advantage. Mendoza rushed for a team high 64 yards on 20 carries and the two scores.
Del Valle responded by orchestrating a late first half drive. The drive was capped off by a 47-yard field goal from kicker Luis Escalante. The Lobos held a 14-3 halftime lead and seemed to be in control.
But Del Valle began its march back into contention early in the fourth period. Helping them were quarterback Julian Morales and running back Fred Wilson, who combined for 240 of the Cardinals’ 292 total yards.
The Cardinals’ comeback began when Morales tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Wilson. Lehman’s lead was cut to 14-9 after a missed two point conversion.
After a Lehman three-and-out on the ensuing series, Del Valle’s offense marched down the field. The Cardinals orchestrated a 67-yard scoring drive, aided by a Lobo personal foul penalty.
Morales closed the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. Del Valle clung to a 15-14 lead after another missed two-point conversion.
But the Lobo offense couldn’t find the rhythm they had earlier in the game. Lehman’s final two drives ended with a turnover on downs.
Lehman quarterback Jacob Zamora went 12-18 for 105-yards and two interceptions. Morales went 6-15 for 60-yards through the air and added 48-yards on the ground. Wilson had 132 rushing yards on 19 carries.