Zebras take bite out of Cougars for homecoming
PIONEER VALLEY LEAGUE
2017 League Standings
Lincoln (3-0, 7-1) win over Center 43-20
Placer (3-0, 7-1) win over Foothill 53-19
Colfax (1-2, 6-2) win over Bear River 31-14
Bear River (1-2, 6-2) loss to Colfax 31-14
Center (1-2, 4-4) loss to Lincoln 43-20
Foothill (0-3, 1-7) loss to Placer 53-19
The Lincoln High football team went up against the Center Cougars in Friday’s Pioneer Valley League match-up in front of a homecoming-packed house and came away with a 43-20 win.
Heading into the matchup, the Fighting Zebras were coming off a thrilling 48-42 victory at Colfax. Center was coming off a 38-13 loss to Placer. Still, with the Cougars averaging near 35 points on offense, the Zebras knew they were going to have to come out firing on all cylinders.
“With their speed, we have to contain them, as they are explosive,” stated Lincoln head coach Chris Bean before the game. “Our defense has to improve on tackling. If we take poor angles like we did last week then they will be scoring touchdowns.”
After the teams exchanged possessions, Center punted to Lincoln. The Zebras then drove to the Cougars’ 10-yard line, where the drive stalled and Lincoln settled for a Brett Woolley 27-yard field goal.
After taking the kickoff, the Zebras’ defense backed up Center, forcing a fumble. Linebacker Antonio Nevarez fell on the loose ball for his first recovery of the season.
Back in business, Lincoln called on running back Deven Coffer, who punched the ball in for a touchdown and a 10-0 Zebras’ advantage.
The Lincoln defense then swallowed up the visitors, while the offense added another three TDs in the second quarter. Running backs Seth Sampson and Pete Murillo both scored and quarterback Tommy Turner passed to James Sweet for another TD and a 30-6 Zebras’ lead at halftime.
Center scored on a 50-yard bomb from Emari White to Michael Wortham.
The second half was more of the same, with Turner connecting with Sweet for two more scores. Center scored two touchdowns with Lorenzo McGill rushing 43 yards for a score and Chris Bush took the ball in from a yard out.
Lincoln is 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the PVL. Center fell to 4-4 and 1-2 in league.
The Zebras’ offense was solid throughout the game, with strong support from the defense. Leading the defense was PVL leading tackler Jack Boatman and sophomore linebacker Grady Manley.
“We were dominant on trapping the run tonight and we need to keep that up,” said Manley. “We need to continue being physical during our drills in practice.”
Manley’s words had to be music to Coach Bean’s ears. Although pleased with his defense’s performance, Bean feels excellence is still somewhere in the future.
“Our defense was stout tonight,” Bean said. “To hold a team like that to six in the first half is great football.”
Lincoln has their final home game of the season Friday, as they take on the Foothill Mustangs for senior night.
Although Foothill’s record is the exact opposite of the Zebras, Bean is likely to emphasize that looking ahead to Placer Nov. 3 is a trap. Upsetting Lincoln would virtually make the Mustangs’ season and just three years ago that happened.
Lincoln has an outright PVL championship in their grasp, but it’s going to require focusing on one game, one play at a time.
_ Aaron Jackson is the sports information director for Lincoln High School.