D.T. Torres got what he wanted.
In the season opener against Waco Live Oak, Lometa’s second-year head coach was hoping to upset the state’s top ranked TAPPS Division II team. He intended to walk off the field with a signature victory and prove the Hornets were capable of competing with anybody.
He planned to celebrate the entire ride home.
Instead, however, the Falcons capitalized on Lometa’s multiple miscues, invoking the mercy rule late in the third quarter to earn a 66-20 victory. While everything did not go exactly as he envisioned, including the outcome, Torres emerged from the contest with pride because his team competed until the end.
“Every guy that stepped on the field contributed to the best of his ability,” Torres said, “and that’s what I’ve been trying to teach them. I just want them to keep working even if we get behind, and that was a huge positive heading into the rest of the year. When we get a win, it is all about the kids, and I’ll take the blame for a loss any day, but it is a pat on the back for me to see them doing the things I am always preaching and harping on.”
Despite putting together an impressive scoring drive early in the contest, the Hornets quickly found themselves in a hole to last season’s state semifinalists, trailing 20-6 by the end of the first quarter despite junior Connell Barnett scoring his first of two touchdowns in the game.
Kyle Molter, a senior, found the end zone for Lometa once again in the second quarter on a kickoff return, but Live Oak still extended its lead to 32-12 by halftime. Then, the Falcons exploded for 34 points in the abbreviated third quarter, forcing the officials to call the game with 3:20 remaining in the period.
Along with being unable to produce points, the Hornets could not get stops when they needed them most, repeatedly giving up critical plays on fourth downs.
With a roster full of freshmen, for a large number of the players, it was their first varsity experience, making performing against a high-caliber team like Live Oak even more difficult.
But the excuse is no longer valid, according to Torres.
“There were a lot of growing pains last week,” he said, “and there are going to be growing pains all year, but that experience is huge. They have that first varsity game under their belts now, and they understand how fast the game is and how much quicker they have to make decisions.”
One freshman who quickly adjusted to the speed of the game was Mason Moresco, who started at guard.
“He was our most consistent lineman,” Torres said.
Things will not get any easier, though, as Lometa travels to face Class 1A, Division II No. 1 Richland Springs on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. Since 2004, the Coyotes have won six state championships en route to becoming a powerhouse and are coming off a 70-34 victory against Rochelle last week.
Having already seen in spurts what his players are capable of, Torres believes the Hornets have the ability to shock the state, but he is more concerned with simply improving.
“Despite the score or outcome,” Torres said, “we can become a better football team because of these first two weeks. The competition we are playing is top-notch, so we are learning against some really good teams.”