There is virtually no room for error.
Competing in a small district consisting of just four teams, Lometa enters tonight’s game knowing its postseason hopes hinge on every play.
While other teams have district schedules lasting five, six or even seven weeks, the Hornets only have three opportunities to secure a postseason berth.
It makes for an intense stretch to close the season, but Lometa head coach D.T. Torres feels it is an ideal situation for his young team.
“We gained so much experience during those seven nondistrict games,” he said. “So, this year it is probably a good thing to be in such a small district. We’ve been beaten up a little bit and taken a bunch of bumps and bruises along the way, but we’ve learned so much.
“If we were in a bigger district, we’d have a lot less experience going into district play. … I feel like it has worked out well for us because now we are prepared.”
In addition to the knowledge gained on the field, the Hornets enter tonight’s District 11-1A, Division I opener against Santa Anna (5-2) having spent the last two weeks focusing on the Mountaineers after producing a 1-6 record prior to their bye week.
The extra time allowed Lometa’s players to rest their bodies after seven consecutive games, but it also allowed Torres to make sure his squad understood the importance of delivering in the district opener.
“A loss against Santa Anna means we are battling for our lives in the next two games,” Torres said. “I’ve been harping on it; this first game is huge. I’m not taking anything away from the next two, but we have to focus on this one and do our jobs.”
One of Torres’ points of emphasis is stopping Santa Anna junior running back Jacob Herrod, who ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns, while passing for 57 yards and another score in a 54-6 victory against Blackwell two weeks ago.
Kyle Molter, Mason Hines, Mason Moresco and Logan Evans, among others, will be responsible for slowing down the Mountaineers’ playmaker.
“For the past two weeks,” Torres said, “all we have worked on is stopping Herrod when he has the ball because he can take it the distance any time he gets it.”