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Jr.Zebras gain split with Antelope Jr. Titans

Lincoln’s Jr. Midgets take sole possession of first
By: Greg Easter Courtesy/Lincoln Jr. Zebras
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The Antelope Jr. Titans came in with three teams in playoff contention, including two in first place in the Sierra Valley USA Football standings. While every game had playoff implications, the big game of the day pitted the Jr. Midget teams putting their undefeated records on the line to see who would be the outright leader in that division. Head coach Charles Middleton's group of 12-year-olds proved too tough for another frontrunner. After surrendering their first six points last week, the Jr. Midgets defense held Antelope to just three first downs and registered a shutout for the sixth time in seven games. The defense continually gave the offense good field position and they capitalized by chalking up 28 points for a final margin of 28-0. The defense was led by Joseph Flores, Gabe Triano, Benjamin Nieves, and Charles Middleton. The offense was led by Dominic Sanders, Caleb Kettlehut, Jeffrey Jones, and Eli Garcia. With this victory, the Jr. Midgets secured the No. 1 seed for the SVUSA playoffs and will likely get a rematch against a team they had previously beaten. The playoffs open Oct. 29. The Jr. Zebras Mighty Mite team was able to move the ball with each of their offenses, but was never able to punch it into the end zone. Marcus Barros gained some tough inside yards, while Devin Sherman, Colby Easter, and Ethan Rappa had some nice gains around the outside. Defensively, John Hamilton's young squad was led by Kyle Suchomel, Kobe Burns, and Ashton Oliver. Lincoln's Jr. PeeWees had a daunting task facing the first-place, undefeated, Jr. Titans. The league leaders had a won their six previous games by a dominating 37 points a game. However, the Jr. Zebras held up well against Antelope, yielding just two long touchdown runs to the athletic Jr. Titans. But those two touchdowns proved enough for Antelope to win, 13-0. Jacob Lemus, Alonzo Anglada, Ernie Cuevas, and Malachi Nelson all fought for tough yards versus the stout Titan defense. While Deven Coffer had an interception and led the charge from the defensive side of the ball. The Jr. PeeWees control their own destiny, as a win this week versus Capital Christian should qualify them for the SVUSA playoffs. The Jr. Zebra PeeWees struck early and often and showed they are rounding into playoff form. Logan Stern returned the opening kickoff all the way to put the Jr. Zebras on top, 8-0. After a strong defensive series, Ryan Graham took a reverse 85 yards for another Lincoln touchdown and the Zebras were rolling. In the second half, Preston Eklund returned an Antelope pass for another Lincoln touchdown. From that point on, head coach Dana Graham's team controlled the game as they were able to give the reserves some extra playing time. It put the PeeWees a half-game into first and at least a top-three seed heading into SVUSA playoff action. The final score had Lincoln on top, 30-13. The PeeWees are guaranteed at least a tiebreaker chance for the top seed, depending on what Grant and Granite Bay do over the next two weeks. After a heartbreaking loss last week, the Jr. Zebras Midgets were ready for a win. Unfortunately, their opponents had the same intentions. The Jr. Zebras opened with a fantastic drive and marched downfield. Quarterback PJ Manley then found Elijah Cunningham for a touchdown and a, 6-0, lead. That score would hold up going into intermission. In the second half, Antelope completed a number of quick passes resulting in a touchdown. The kicked extra point gave them an 8-6 lead. Although Antelope scored again on their next possession, the Jr. Zebras showed great heart. They broke through the line and blocked the extra point kick, keeping within one score of a tie. A great kick return by Cunningham and a determined front line allowed the Jr. Midgets to push deep into Jr. Titan territory. However, the Jr. Titans’ defense held on for a 14-6 victory. A great team effort was led by Ryan Terzich, Tanner Keeler, and Scott Trembinski. The Jr. Zebras travel to Rancho Cordova to take on the Capital Christian Jr. Cougars, next week. They return home, Oct. 22, for a non-league match up versus the Valley Jr. Vikings. The first round of the SVUSA playoffs is Oct. 29. Lincoln could play host for the Jr. PeeWees, PeeWees, and Jr. Midget games.