Mustangs’ PAT kick is difference in OT win over Zebras

Mistakes lead to 27-26 loss
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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SACRAMENTO – The Lincoln High football team fell 27-26 to Foothill Friday, as two costly turnovers gave the Mustangs the opportunities it needed for victory.

There were plenty of mistakes made on both sides of the ball in the Pioneer Valley League contest, but the two clubs still gave the fans their money’s worth. The seesaw battle was not decided until the final point-after kick in overtime.

“It’s the little things still that they see that they’re not doing or they’re not getting down and now they notice it; before, they wouldn’t have noticed it,” said Lincoln first-year head coach Chris Bean in reference to his team’s progress. “Now they see it, but they’re not necessarily doing it.”

The season has taken its toll on the Fighting Zebras, with up to 18 players sidelined with injuries. Three of those players are starters, quarterback Eli Garcia, running back Dane Stimbert and center Luke Suchomel – all out for the season.

Lincoln took a 7-6 lead in the first quarter, gaining the turnover advantage with an interception and a fumble recovery. The Zebras looked as if they would take a 13-6 lead into halftime, when mistakes took a toll.

An interception and a bad snap hurt Lincoln and eventually led to a Mustangs’ score with less than four seconds left on the clock. Foothill was unable to convert the PAT and trailed 13-12 at the break.

However, the Zebras opened the second half with Eli Cunningham finding the end zone from 14 yards out. Daniel Leyva then added the kick to give Lincoln a 20-12 lead through three quarters.

The Mustangs tied the score 20-20 in the fourth quarter with an 8-yard run and a 2-point conversion. The Zebras tried to put together a game-winning drive, but an interception ended their hopes of scoring before the end of regulation play.

 “We’re good; we know we are,” said Caleb Kettlehut, who scored on a 10-yard run in overtime to give Lincoln the early advantage 26-20. “It just takes time. We’re still going to have our high expectations for everybody and we’re not going to quit.”

Lincoln was unable to convert the extra point to open the door for the Mustangs.

In overtime, Foothill answered Kettlehut’s TD with a 10-yard pass play. Foothill’s Larry Alford then stepped up big for a successful point-after kick and triggered an orange and black celebration.

Next up for Lincoln is a home game against Placer. The Hillmen (2-0, 5-2) were scheduled to play Bear River Friday, but the game was postponed because of a tragic shooting incident that took place in Auburn that day.