Uvalde High School’s 2019 football season came to an end last Friday night at Lockhart.
The Coyotes ended their season with a narrow 45-41 loss to the Lockhart Lions.
“It was tough loss, because we came so very close to beating Lockhart,” said UHS head football coach R.T. Gonzales.
“We had a good game-plan and our kids played hard from start to finish, but we fell a little short,” said Gonzales.
“Going in to the game, we knew we faced a tough task in beating a good Lockhart team on their home field,” said Gonzales. “Our kids stepped up their play and put forth a solid performance.
“Credit Lockhart for coming up with some big plays, especially on special teams to beat us,” said Coach Gonzales.
Going into the final district game of the season, both the Coyotes and the Lions needed for Alamo Heights to lose to Boerne Champion to give them a playoff spot.
Champion trounced Alamo Heights, 42-7, Friday at Boerne.
“Our kids knew what was at stake. Despite being two-touchdown underdogs, we came close to knocking off Lockhart. I am proud of how hard our kids fought last Friday,” said Gonzales. “We were so close to beating Lockhart and so close to making it to the playoffs. That is what really hurts.”
Lockhart claimed a playoff spot with the win over the Coyotes.
Kerrville Tivy’s Antlers topped the Medina Valley Panthers, 35-14, Friday.
MV’s loss to Tivy vaulted Lockhart into the district’s number-three playoff seed.
The Lions and the Panthers finished with 4-3 district records, but the Lions downed Medina Valley in head-to-head district play and claimed the higher seeding for the playoffs.
Tivy, Boerne Champion, Lockhart, and Medina Valley will represent the district in bi-district play tomorrow night.
“All of the teams in our district should be favored in their games Friday,” said Coach Gonzales. “I would not be surprised if our district went 4-0 against their bi-district opponents.”
With the loss last Friday, the Coyotes ended up with a 2-5 district mark and a 4-6 season record.
“With a few breaks, we could easily have finished district play with a 4-3 record. We lost to Memorial, Medina Valley, and Lockhart by a total of 10 points,” said Gonzales.
“Tivy and Champion were pretty much alone at the top of the district, but there was not much difference between the next four finishing teams,” said Gonzales. “We beat Alamo Heights, and came close to beating both Medina Valley and Lockhart.”
For 21 UHS seniors, the game last Friday was their final football game ever as Uvalde Coyotes.
“Our seniors helped turn us in the right direction,” said Gonzales.
“In one season, we came a long way from where we were at this time in 2018,” said Gonzales. “Last year, we lost a lot of district games by lopsided scores. This year, we really closed the gap on the majority of our district opponents. The leap we made from last year to this year is a tribute to the hard work these kids and our coaching staff did during the off-season.”
The Coyotes will return 22 underclassmen from this year’s team.
“This year’s juniors and sophomores will form the nucleus for next year’s football team,” said Gonzales. “With another good off-season, we hope to be even better in 2020.
“We will have some spots to fill with the graduation of this year’s seniors,” said Gonzales. “But the loss to Lockhart has left our underclassmen hungry and wanting to improve so that we get to the playoffs next year.”
Depending on the cut-off line set by the University Interscholastic League, UHS could be back in Class 5A Division II or they could be in Class 4A Division I for football next school year.
“Regardless of which classification we wind up in, we know our district will be tough and the football opponents we face will offer us a challenge,” said Gonzales.
“We can’t control what classification or district we play in next season. All we can do is work hard and try to prepare ourselves,” said Gonzales. “If we work hard during the off-season, we should be ready for whatever happens.”