Sierra sophomore Micah Lumpkin catches a pass for a touchdown as senior Brian Perez looks on in the first quarter Thursday against Mitchell at Sierra High School.

Micah Lumpkin is here to change Sierra.

The sophomore wideout just got to the school's grounds, but his first game as a Stallion was significant. They hadn't won a game since 2019, but the newcomer did his part, hauling in two touchdowns en route to Sierra's first win of the year over visiting Mitchell, 26-7. 

Before offensive plays, his quarterback, sophomore Ryan Stankiewicz, was even giving him his routes. Lumpkin's uncle told him to go out and play backyard football. And he did. 

"Ryan was telling me most of my plays because I don't have them down pat yet," Lumpkin said. "After the first touchdown, I felt like I was unstoppable. I wanted to get these guys a win. They hadn't won in a couple years." 

Lumpkin's first touchdown represented only the third of the year for the Stallions through six games. His second represented their first time crossing the 20-point threshold. 

He even manned the middle linebacker spot, despite having less than a week to practice. 

Coach Joe Roskam is trying to build a new Sierra — a better one. Having a new weapon come mid-season from Oregon is a good step. 

"I'm holding onto this game ball. I'm not letting it go," Roskam said. "After our last loss, the attitude changed. You could feel it in practices. They showed they were done playing bad. We're taking steps in the right direction." 

Before the year, just getting on the bus took the Stallions 30 minutes. Thursday, with the lights of District 2's stadium not working, they had to quickly shuffle over to Sierra to play. 

The whole process, including warm-ups, took a similar half hour. 

As much as Sierra's changed, some lingering issues appeared again. 

Midway through the third quarter, a Sierra defender delivered a late hit on a Marauder, spawning a flag. Shortly after, both team's benches had nearly cleared out as punches and bodies were being thrown. 

Three Sierra players were ejected in the game, while one Mitchell player was forced off. 

The four unsportsmanlike penalties for the Stallions were their first of the year. 

"That stuff is embarrassing. That's not who we are," Roskam said. "That's not Sierra any more. We're going to clean that up. I understand the emotion, but we have to clean that up." 

Harrison awaits Sierra in a rivalry matchup next weekend. 

Lumpkin will have another week to catch up, while him and the rest of the squad will have time to watch film, digest it and make changes for next Friday. 

The culture is being reset, which takes time. Roskam likes the early results, and with practices now focusing on details, instead of purely fundamentals, the Stallions have hope. 

And hope is contagious. 

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