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PREP FOOTBALL

Last minute sharpening for season opener

Ponderosa comes in Friday
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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The Lincoln High football program has been able to control virtually every aspect of the upcoming season except one – the clock.

Fighting Zebras head coach Chris Bean and his staff have put in the slave labor to get the 2014 football team ready for the opening bell this Friday. In the final stages, the club hosted a scrimmage inviting two power programs, Antelope and Rocklin, both Division II schools.

Whenever the Zebras stepped onto the field against either the Titans or Thunder, one could feel the field tip in the direction of the visitor. But, when the session ended the field was level.

“We’re a team that has to do our homework,” said Bean, following the scrimmage. “We’ve got to find the littlest things on these defenses; because of where we’re at, it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge for our kids.”

Junior quarterback Eli Garcia will lead the Zebras onto the field Friday night for a first in a variety of ways. It will be the first game Lincoln has played under Bean’s direction, it’s the first varsity start for Garcia and it is the first game of the season.

Whoever selected Ponderosa to start things off made an excellent choice. Although a Division II school, the Bruins have struggled against foes like Oak Ridge and Folsom – who wouldn’t? Still, they are a solid program and should do well in their new league.

When in the Sierra Valley League, Pondo was the 2007 champion and 2008 co-champion, and the league included Oak Ridge. When the Bruins were moved to the Delta River League, life became considerably more difficult.

Still, Ponderosa has been under head coach Jason Tenner’s system since 2010 and knows what they are doing. Senior quarterback Colby Chiverton comes in with a year’s experience under his belt. He completed over 50 percent of his passes last season, but was plagued by turnovers.

They are a team than runs by committee with only one senior running back graduating this spring. Both their top rusher Tyrone Scalero and wide receiver Josh Bist return for their senior seasons.

The club’s No. 1 tackler Xavier Valles is also back as a senior.

The Bruins will be a good test for Bean’s team and there is excitement for this season under his new system. Bean said there are areas that still need work, but he is proud of how well his players have prepared.

“It’s not what you ask for,” said Bean, as to getting his players in shape. “(Players) don’t go, ‘Coach, we need more conditioning,’ so we give it to them without them really wanting it. But they appreciate it when in the fourth quarter they watch the team across from them and say, ‘We’ve got them now.’”

Bean said when the fourth quarter rolls around Lincoln’s opponents had better be ready because the Zebras will be coming.

LINCOLN vs. PONDEROSA

Friday 7:30 p.m., JV at 5:30

Freshman game Thursday 5:30 p.m.

Edward Alexander Grey Sports Complex

Lincoln High School Stadium