22 Unanswered Points by the Skyrockets Prove Too Much for the Lions to Overcome.
The #9 DI ranked New Deal Lions made the early season road trip up north to face the #3 DII ranked Skyrockets in the season opened for Wellington. Freshman starter, Slade Martin, jumped on a Wellington fumble early in the game and gave the Lions early momentum. As the Lions’ offense did multiple times in week one, they took advantage of the turnover by the defense and put points on the board. With 6:58 left in the first quarter, Harley Patterson found fellow Junior Wide Receiver Colby Henderson for a 10 yard passing strike to take an early 6-0 lead. Luke Joy added the extra point and the Lions led 7-0. A back and forth defensive battle ensued without any points until Marc Ramirez tallied a Skyrockets' rushing touchdown from nine yards out in the closing moments of the first half. Following the score, New Deal's Martin denied Wellington's attempt to take the lead on a two-point conversion as he came off the edge to disrupt the passing/rushing play and to keep the Lions in the lead.
Going into the locker room with the one-point lead, the Lions were optimistic: the general feeling was they were only a half-step away from blowing the game open. Sophomore Wide Receiver Damoria Hall found his way behind the defense and had a ball tipped away at the last moment preventing a touchdown. Junior Running Back Leric Eaton, multiple times, came around the edge and seemed to have wide open spaces to run in but would be taken down from a shoestring tackle from a trailing Wellington defender. With these plays, the Lions tried to start the second half in a big way.
The Lions opened the half with a quick three and out before the Skyrockets scored six on a 73-yard John Ramirez scamper. The ensuing two-point conversion was good and Wellington took their first lead of the game with 10:37 left in the third quarter. On their next possession, the Skyrockets found the end zone again and extended their lead to 22-7. The Lions’ defense found their footing again and didn’t allow Wellington to find the end zone the rest of the night.
The Lions’ offense had their work cut out for them and had to answer the 22 unanswered points. The Lions’ offense started the comeback when they found the end-zone with 7:55 left in the game when Patterson and Henderson connected - this time from ten yards out. The extra-point by Joy was true and cut the Skyrockets lead down to 22-14. With the clock working against them, New Deal received the ball again with 6:08 left in the game but weren't able to tie the game. They had to try to convert a fourth down but failed and turned the ball over on downs. The Lions got the ball back again within a minute and Patterson let a deep pass go as a hail-mary attempt to tie the game. However, the pass was intercepted by Wellington which sealed a 14-22 road loss and 1-1 start to the season.
The Lions were unable to repeat their offensive success from week one as they struggled to amass 142 yards of offense. Harley Patterson went 10-22 for 70 yards, two touchdowns and only one interception. Patterson’s main target was once again Kyler Reed who had five receptions for 56 yards. Henderson finished second on the team with four receptions for 32 yards and hauled in both of Patterson’s touchdown passes. On the ground, Leric Eaton led the way with 30 yards on 11 carriers and Slade Martin added 17 yards on five carries.
The Lions look to get back to their winning ways next Friday as they welcome the (1-1) Slaton Tigers to Noland Stadium for Homecoming.
SPS Game Balls:
Ron Mayo’s Game Ball: Arric Mares: Mares played both sides of the ball and made plays all over the field. From the Safety positions Marres was a big reason why the Skyrockets had no yards or completions through the air.
Tyler Reed’s Game Ball: Jagger Kirk : Kirk had a great game on both the Offensive and Defensive line.The Offensive line dealt with injuries and Kirk, at the Center position, was the anchor that gave the line success against Wellington