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Lovelady Lions After Game Interview 

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Lovelady Lions (left to right) Senior Outside Linebacker Landon LeBlanc, Lions Head Coach Will Kirchhoff, Senior Middle Linebacker Brandon Fry talk to the Messenger after their win against Houston County rival Grapeland Sandies

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

LOVELADY – The Lovelady Lions defeated the Grapeland Sandies Friday, Sept. 2 – 45-8 at Grapeland in a true Houston County matchup. See the story in today’s newspaper for a more detailed rundown of that game. 

Lions Head Coach and Lovelady Independent School District (LISD) Athletic Director Will Kirchhoff sat down with some of Friday’s game-makers to speak with the Messenger about the victory. See the full video online at the end of this article, sponsored by Crockett Medical Center.

Coach Will Kirchhoff 

What were your thoughts going into the game?

“It brought back a local rivalry since we haven’t gotten to play the last couple of years. Grapeland always has a great program in every sport they play. They have great athletes and great size, especially when it comes to football. I just wanted to make sure our guys put together four quarters of effort and toughness to establish our identity for the rest of the season.”

Grapeland was aggressive with their passing game. What did you do to try and stop that?

“The young man that plays wide out for them is an exceptional athlete. They gave us some one-on-one matchups which is part of our defense. Our backs needed to show up big, and over and over again. We had a lot of faith in our guys playing man to man with them. Ultimately, we want to challenge our kids every time they step on the field – especially in non-district games. We are going to have to cover some exceptional athletes such as that young man and be able to hold up. I thought our kids did an excellent job for four quarters just withstanding the waves of deep balls and short passes.”

How is the season shaping up?

“We have a junior and senior heavy bunch, so we have a lot of kids that have played a lot of snaps for us. We are just building on the last four years. Our seniors who have put in the work for the last four years have the ability to beat anybody in the State of Texas. Week over week, we see them improve on a lot of things. This week, our goal was to establish the run game. We shut them down on defense. We played physical, good-effort football. We consider that the Lovelady way and our kids definitely did that.”

How do you see this Friday’s game at home against Iola?

“We’re trying to work on ourselves and make sure we are the best Lovelady Lions we can be every week on the field. Improve on what we did last week and make sure this week is better than last.”

Outside Linebacker Landon LeBlanc 

“I think I did pretty good. Overall, we had pretty good defense. There was stuff I could have done better, like reading better. It feels good to know our hometown has faith in us to come out and watch us play.”

Middle Linebacker Brandon Fry

“I had a few mis-reads but overall, I played well. I need to work on running through the tackles and getting those extra steps in. I try to stay time-organized, trying to practice hard and put in a good effort every day. I want to show the younger kids how to give their best effort, to give their all in practices and to listen to the coaches and be very coachable.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at greg@messenger-news.com

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