Lehman early stretch could be glimpse into future

For a three minute stretch early in the first quarter of Thursday’s season opener, the Lehman Lobos seemed primed to burst out of the blocks at full sprint. 

But an explosive Westwood Warriors offense hobbled the Lobos in a 63-13 loss at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock. 

Lehman (0-1) was outgunned by seasoned Westwood quarterback Will Jennings, who went 10 of 16 through the air and threw for 234 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings’ favorite target of the night was transfer wide receiver Cameron Thomas, who caught three touchdowns, all of which were 50 or more yards in length. Thomas hauled in six receptions for 197 yards on the evening. 

“He’s a four star athlete. Him and the quarterback make them go,” Lehman head coach Josh Kirkland said. “They’re a hell of a football team. We just tried to contain him (Thomas), bracket him and try to keep him in front of us.” 

The Lobos also were unable to bring down bruising Warrior running back Jakeim Murphy, who rushed for 150 yards on three carries, which included a 58 and 87-yard touchdown runs. Helping Murphy was a sizable offensive line that overpowered the Lobos in the trenches. 

Inconsistency and mistakes hindered the Lobos, both on offense and defense, Kirkland said. 

On the defensive side, the Lobos looked “great for two plays,” but couldn’t avoid a miscue. 

Offensively, Lehman was unable to sustain and maintain drives to keep Westwood’s prolific offense on the sideline. The inability to capitalize in Westwood territory also proved to be a costly factor for Lehman’s offense. 

Seven Lobo drives crossed into the Warrior side of the field, but only twice did the Lobos reach the end zone. 

“Consistency is the thing we struggle with, in practice and out here. It’s part of growing up,” Kirkland said. “Good thing is, the kids have experience from this game, they’ll have experience next game.” 

But there were glimpses of sunshine amidst the devastation of Thursday’s loss. Lehman’s opening drive, which encompassed 10 plays and took less than three minutes, showed the fluidity of the Lobo offense. 

Lehman’s offense was led by quarterback Daniel O’Neal, who went 29 of 43 passing and threw for 318 yards and both of the Lobos’ touchdowns. 

Lehman running back Diego Romero rushed for 94 yards, while wide receiver Chastin Evans had 96 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

The trio played a role in guiding Lehman down the field to take a 6-0 first quarter lead after a missed extra point.

“It was just consistency when you’re playing with young kids,” Kirkland said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is be consistent.” 

But Westwood captured momentum on the ensuing drive, as Murphy broke through for a 58-yard touchdown run. The Warriors followed by scoring 22 more points to take a 22-6 lead, placing Lehman out of reach. 

Improving on the field was Kirkland’s message, even as they trailed in the latter quarters. Continuing to progress is the goal. 

“It’s all about today. That’s what we keep telling them,” Kirkland said. “It’s about today and how we can get better.” 

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