All three phases of the game for the Lehman Lobos struggled in a 51-17 season opening loss to the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars Friday at Bob Shelton Stadium.
Lehman’s defense was gashed by the Cougar rushing attack, while the Lobo offense was unable to work past a stingy Canyon defense.
Lobo woes began after Canyon blocked a punt on the first drive of the game. That allowed the Cougars to drive down the field and punch in a one-yard touchdown run by senior running back Seth Leeper-Hane, which gave Canyon a 7-0 lead.
After another three-and-out by the Lobo offense, Cougar senior running back Nathan Culbreath entered the game on the ensuing drive and broke away for a 43-yard touchdown run; a successful two point conversion put Canyon up 16-0 early in the first quarter.
Lehman got on scoreboard later in the first frame with a 30-yard field goal by senior kicker Alex Mantilla. Lehman’s Achilles heel, however, was an inability to fully capitalize in the red zone.
Two long Lobo drives stalled around the 20-yard line.
On the other side of the ball, the Lobo defense couldn’t keep Leeper-Hane and Culbreath out of the end zone. The duo each notched an additional rushing touchdown before halftime, which helped Canyon claim a decisive 30-3 lead.
Culbreath kept up the momentum in the second half as he rushed for two more touchdowns in the game. Culbreath finished the game with 127 yards on seven carries and four touchdowns, while Leeper-Hane rushed for a game-high 163 yards on 18 carries and two scores.
Amid the struggles, the Lobo offense came alive late when sophomore quarterback Bryant Lewis led the team to a pair of second half touchdowns.
The first came in the third quarter as Lewis threw a bullet pass to senior wide receiver Daniel O’Neal for a 12-yard touchdown. Lewis followed with an 86-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper play. Lewis finished the game with 19 carries for 93 yards and one rushing touchdown, and was 12-of-17 passing for 96 yards and one touchdown.
The Lobos travel to play McCallum Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at House Park in Austin.