Knights’ offense spoils Zebras’ homecoming

Rio Linda ground game too much
By: Aaron Jackson for The News Messenger
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The Lincoln High football team lost to Rio Linda 52-35 Friday night, when the Knights run game overpowered the Zebras’ defense and spoiled their homecoming.

The Fighting Zebras were coming off a 35-28 victory against the Ponderosa Bruins, while the Knights were coming off a 48-23 loss against the Placer Hillmen.

Rio Linda came into Friday’s matchup averaging over 45 points per game. Their offense had been led by their star running back, Cameron Skettebo, who has averaged nearly 200 yards per game.

“They’re the real deal. It’s going to be a test to see if our guys are ready for their physicality and I know they are,” said Lincoln head coach Chris Bean before the game.

Lincoln kicked off, but an awkward bounce of the football gave the Zebras’ possession deep in Knights’ territory. However, the Zebras turned the ball over on downs and Skettebo set the evening’s tone by going 77 yards for a touchdown.

Lincoln’s offense struggled, with two punts and an interception. Meanwhile, Rio Linda took full advantage.

The Knights added a 29-yard field goal and increased their lead to 17-0 on quarterback Tyson Ybarra’s 57-yard quarterback keeper.

The second quarter featured an offensive explosion. The visitors scored three more touchdowns while the Zebras added four. The score was 38-28 at the half.

“We came out flat to start the game. If we are going to get back in the game it’s going to take better tackling on defense,” Bean said at halftime. “Good thing is, we make adjustments and we have good coaches who will make it harder on (Rio Linda) in the second half.”

The defense did limit the Knights to only two scores in the second half. However, the Zebras managed to get the ball into the end zone only once.

“This is a different feel right now. Kids are working their tails off. They aren’t getting the results they’ve been able to get the past few years” Bean said after the game. “Rio Linda made some good adjustments at halftime and hats off to them.

“Skettebo is really good. I’ve seen a lot of running backs and I have never seen anyone like him,” Bean added.

Skettebo finished the game with 279 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

It was the first loss for Lincoln in the Foothill Valley League and it moves them to 4-4 on the season. The Knights are 2-1 and 6-2 on the season.

Lincoln will take on the Nevada Union Miners in Grass Valley Friday night and next week they take on the Placer Hillmen at home in the final game of the season. The Miners are currently 0-3 in the FVL.