By Jim Irish
A Bastrop fumble on offense in the third quarter sparked Lockhart to a 28-17 District 13-5A Division II victory on the road Friday.
After an interception by Bastrop defensive back Jayden Riley, the Bears (5-4 overall, 2-3 in district) had possession at their four-yard line with a 17-14 lead.
Running back Ladanian Merino fumbled, and Lockhart’s Bart Key recovered at the one. Two plays later, Lockhart quarterback Ashton Dickens scored for a 21-17 advantage.
“I guess we’ll call it a long punt,” Lockhart coach Todd Moebes said about the interception by Bastrop. “Being able to go out and get the ball right back and punch it in was huge. I’m real proud of our defensive kids. We haven’t played the best defense all year.”
Keyshon Moore, Bastrop’s fleet receiver, started at quarterback after an injury to freshman quarterback Weston Nielsen last week in a loss to San Antonio Veterans Memorial.
"Being able to go out and get the ball right back and punch it in was huge."
-- Lockhart head coach Todd Moebes
Moore is the fourth quarterback to start for Bastrop this season after injuries to Quintaelyn Joyner, Braden Tuck, and Nielsen.
Moore displayed his cutting ability and quickness, rushing for 171 yards on 22 carries. He turned the corner and zipped past defenders en route to a 51-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a Bastrop lead 17-14.
“Certainly as elusive as he is, he’s a heck of a football player,” Moebes said. “He’s a game changer. He broke containment on us several times.”
Moore lacks the arm of Nielsen; he completed 1-of-9 passes and was intercepted once. He connected with Jaelyn Gratten for 19 yards and a first down on a drive in the fourth quarter. But Isaac Dugger’s 38-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Even if Dugger had converted it, the Bears would have trailed by a point.
Dugger converted a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter, handing Bastrop a 10-7 lead.
Despite two fumbles, Merino also eclipsed the century mark with 122 yards on 21 carries.
Bastrop’s defense contained Lockhart leading rusher Nathaniel Gonzales, who finished with 44 yards on 15 carries. But Dickens proved difficult, rushing for 191 yards on 21 carries.
Dickens scored twice on 1-yard runs. Late in the third quarter, he connected with Gage Deutsch for a 53-yard touchdown. A Bastrop defender pushed Deutsch from behind, but it only propelled him forward.
With the victory, Lockhart moves into contention for a playoff spot. The Lions face San Antonio Pieper and Kerrville in their final two games.
“We got to be ready one week at a time,” Moebes said. “This was a huge win for us.”
Bastrop plays host to defending district champion Liberty Hill (5-3, 3-1) in its final district contest at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
The Bears would need a victory over Liberty Hill to have any shot at the playoffs.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas