Lincoln High prepares for 2012 football campaign

Tandem coaches lead Zebras
By: Joshua Gutierrez News Messenger Correspondent
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The Lincoln High School varsity football team is set to begin its 2012 campaign. The Fighting Zebras will look to improve on a 2-8 record last season, finishing fifth in the Pioneer Valley League. “We want to be better than we were last year,” said head coach Ken Lowe as to what his expectations are. “We want to come together as a team and be competitive in every game.” Coach Lowe, who is heading into his sixth season as head football coach will be joined by Bob Pierce as co-head coach in 2012. Pierce earned his stripes as last year’s defensive coordinator. The duo are hard at work with the preseason’s most intriguing aspect, position battles. Up for grabs on the offensive line includes positions at both tackle and guard. There’s also competition for spots in the secondary, but the highlight is at quarterback. The field general position would command a Zebras squad looking to improve their offensive output from the year before. Davis Dykstra and Joshua Pisik will split time with the first-team offense, until a clear cut winner can be named. Both players are juniors, but Pisik may hold an advantage in experience. While playing with the junior varsity, Pisik split time at quarterback throwing for the most yards of any of the three signal-callers that saw playing time. Dykstra brings over the versatility and understandings of both sides of the field. As a sophomore on the varsity squad, Dykstra had the ability to both carry the ball as well as catch it out of the backfield. As a linebacker against Yuba City, he tallied seven tackles on defense. Whoever wins the job will be assigned the role of team magician. With the offense being run around the Wing-T formation, the quarterback has to have deceptive ability with handoffs and be able to deliver play-action passes. Wing-T quarterbacks are not asked to put on dazzling aerial displays, but rather facilitate an offense built for time-consuming drives that wear out the defense with the rushing game. “We really try to keep the defense guessing,” said Coach Lowe. “If we could get some defensive guys stepping the wrong way … it will allow us to get some more yardage.” With a strong emphasis on being able to rush the ball, the Wing-T experienced success the year prior. Last season’s varsity squad ran the ball for more than 3,000 yards. The offense pounded the defense racking up a 303.5 yards a game. The task repeating that will have to be accomplished without last year’s leading rusher and scorer, Isaac Allen. Allen, who graduated in the spring, ran for over 1,300 yards and rushed for 16 touchdowns. His break-out performance came with a 252-yard game that came at the expense of PVL rival, Foothill. The Mustangs saw Allen score five times en route to a 55-17 Lincoln win. This season, halfback James Hubbard is in the lead for the starting job. The senior split time last year at halfback and quarterback. The fullback position seems to be set as Jordan Tayeh looks to build on his 5.86 yards-per-carry average from last season. Season Outlook The co-coaches will look to have their squad prepared as the days wind down to the first game of the season when they host Natomas Aug. 31. The year prior, the Zebras captured their first win with a 33-6 blowout on the Nighthawks’ home field in Sacramento. After that, the Zebras will play against non-league opponents Highlands, Wheatland, Mesa Verde and Oakmont. Of those, only Highlands posted a winning record in 2011. The combined record of the other four was 11 wins. Momentum in non-league games will be needed as Lincoln begins their PVL campaign on the road against Center High School Oct. 5. Expectations are high for the Zebras to improve on their 1-4 record last year, capped by a four-game losing streak to finish the regular season. Added pressure comes with the fact Lincoln will host only two PVL games at Edward Alexander Grey Sports Complex. One will be the regular-season finale against Colfax. The Falcons were undefeated in PVL play last year. Lincoln High School Football 2012 JV/Varsity Schedule Aug. 31 Natomas 5:30/7:30 Sept. 7 at Highlands 5:30/7:30 Sept. 14 Wheatland 5:30/7:30 Sept. 20 at Mesa Verde 5:30/7:30 Sept. 28 Oakmont 5:30/7:30 Oct. 5 *at Center 5:15:7:30 Oct. 12 *at Foothill 5:15:7:30 Oct. 19 *Placer 5:15:7:30 Oct. 26 *at Bear River 5:15:7:30 Nov. 2 *Colfax 5:15:7:30 *Pioneer Valley League Games