Eagles aiming for top spot

Pre-season No. 1 ranking ignites Lexington squad

Lexington senior quarterback Walker Hess was named the district MVP last season after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns. 
Reporter/Teresa Ging Lexington senior quarterback Walker Hess was named the district MVP last season after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns. Reporter/Teresa Ging LEXINGTON—The Lexington Eagles have never won a state championship in football.

They played for one in 1978 and 2010, but came up short both times, falling to China Spring and Idalou.

It was their only loss in both seasons.

So when Texas Football propelled the Eagles into the No. 1 position in their Class 3A, Division II pre-season poll, whatever expectations the team had—exploded.

Currently, Lexington is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, which does not divide teams into divisions. Everybody is thrown into one pot. The Eagles received three first place votes.

“It is an honor,” said Lexington Coach Kirk Muhl of his team’s lofty rankings. “There are a lot of good football teams out there. For us to be at the top of our class says a lot about the kids and the work they have put in.

“We like the expectations it puts on us and it helps drive us in practice to stay there. The goal for us is to be there in the end.”

The Eagles are coming off a come-from-behind 40-38 victory over Mart, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in the opener and a 52-7 victory over Thorndale on Friday.

Lexington went 11-3 last season as a regional finalist and averaged 52 points a game, eclipsing the 60-point mark nine times.

In Muhl’s fourth season, the Eagles have been building, winning just 10 games in three years leading up to 2016.

“We played young kids, and we knew they were going to be good eventually if we could just keep them out,” Muhl said. “When you get beat, trying to keep that winner’s mentality is the hardest things to do, but those kids did it. It finally paid off for them.”

Lexington has faced a treacherous pre-district schedule, battling Mart and Rockdale, the only teams to hand the Eagles losses until their quarterfinal game last season.

Lexington lost some key skill players to graduation, including All-State performers in running back Nic Dillon and linebacker Chase Allert.

The Eagles are relying on legacies from the biggest names in Lexington history for some help.

Walker Hess—who’s father Mike was a standout for Lexington in the mid- 1970s—earned the 13-3A Division II MVP as Lexington swept unbeaten through the district while averaging 65.8 points per district game.

The talented 5-11, 190-pounder connected on 183 of 339 passes for 3,389 yards and 44 touchdowns —both school records.

Allert is being replaced by his little brother Aaron (5-11, 175) , who stepped in for big brother all of last season as a freshman as Chase injured his knee against Rockdale in 2016 and missed the rest of the season.

After an All-Southwest Conference career at Texas (1982-85), father Ty Allert played four years in the NFL and started as a rookie with the San Diego Chargers and is considered one of the top 10 linebackers in Longhorn history.

Chase Allert’s grandfather Buzzy also played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions and was also a high school coach at Spring Branch North Brook.

Dillon is being replaced by junior Ja’Kobe “Lil’ Speedy” Cooper (5-7, 150) and of course Cooper has been a name with a lot of clout in Lexington for decades.

“Lil’ Speedy” ran wild over Thorndale with 278 yards on just 14 catches.

When the Eagles face unranked Rockdale Friday, the 62-35 beat down they took last year on their home turf in 2016 has to be on their minds.

They did not suffer another loss until the quarterfinals.

“You don’t find any weaknesses,” Miller said. “They just play hard and fast. They have all the pieces.

“Although we haven’t played them a lot in football, I think both teams consider it a rivalry game. It’s a big game to both teams.”

Lexington is a four-point favorite.


• Before last season’s matchup, it had been 64 years since these two schools had faced on the gridiron. They first met in 1934 and the Tigers lead the series 7-1-1. Lexington’s lone win came in 1946.

• You may notice a familiar face on the sidelines this season in Ethan Brinkley. Brinkley is forgoing his senior season at West Texas A&M and doing his student teaching here in Rockdale. Brinkley was the starting quarterback for West Texas last season and was a three-year starter for Rockdale from 2010-12 and is still the school’s all-time leading passer in yardage for a career and game.

• Torry Locklin had some special guests in the stands Friday night as his father Kerry, uncle Kim and family friend Darin Wesley were in attendance. Since his Toronto Argonauts had an off week, Kerry has been in Rockdale since Tuesday and was able to escort his son on the field for senior night. “I was on pins and needles waiting to see is he was going to be eligible to play. Torry is very, very grateful to be able to play for Rockdale.”

• After missing the first two contests, senior wide receiver Tyler Lehmkuhl (ankle) is expected to return to the field Friday. Junior linebacker Jackson Perry (ankle) will miss his third straight game.

• The Tigers have won 41 of their last 51 games overall and 23 of 28 regular season games.

• Dylan David once again led the Tigers with nine tackles, followed by Josh Springer’s eight.


What: No. 3 Lexington Eagles (2-0) at Rockdale Tigers (1-1)

Where: Tigerland Stadium (2,850 capacity, grass).

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Favorite: Lexington by 4.

Series: Rockdale leads 7-1-1.

2016—Rockdale won 62-35.

Last week: Rockdale 21, Taylor 14; Lexington 52, Thorndale 7.

District outlook: Lexington is picked first in District 13-3AII. Pre-season No. 1 in Texas Football.

Eagle to watch: No. 15, Sr. QB Walker Hess.

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