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Lincoln junior varsity impressive in opening win against Natomas

Stewart scores four touchdowns.
By: Joshua Gutierrez/News Messenger Correspondent
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The Lincoln junior varsity football team started the 2012 season with a 44-6 win over the visiting Natomas Nighthawks Friday. The Fighting Zebras avenged last year’s loss with an emphatic statement on both offense and defense. The win came in spite of injuries to three of the squad’s top rushers and their top receiver. Although running back/linebacker Harrison Steward had been nursing a bad hamstring since the club’s first scrimmage, Lincoln head coach Wayne Paul gave him a green light. Stewart’s performance that afternoon was nothing short of memorable. On the first series of the game, the Zebras had Natomas pinned back at their own 11-yard line. Steward took advantage of the situation and sacked the quarterback for a loss. A fired up special teams unit then blocked the Nighthawk’s attempted punt and the ball went over to Lincoln at the visitor’s 13-yard line. A Natomas’ penalty moved the ball to the Nighthawks’ seven where running back Andrew Fagan then took it into the end zone. After an exchange of fumbles, the Zebras’ offense settled down to make a nine-play drive that ended with Stewart’s first score of the night. Lincoln’s No. 23 broke two tackles on his way to a 23-yard gallop into the end zone. On Natomas’ next play from scrimmage, Stewart scooped up a costly fumble by Nighthawks’ quarterback Jaylon Monroe. Stewart then raced another 23 yards for his second score of the afternoon. Natomas appeared they were going to make a game of it when Elijah Monroe took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. However, that would not shift the momentum as Lincoln continued to roll. That accounted for three TDS in the span of 66 seconds to end the first quarter. In the second period, Zebras’ quarterback Isaiah Garcia upped the score to 26-6 when he ran in a fourth Lincoln touchdown. Natomas fared no better on their next series. The Zebras’ Tate Thiel intercepted a pass deep in Nighthawks’ territory. Lincoln’s offensive line wasted no time in making a gash in the opposing defense to clear the way for Stewart’s third score of the night. Now dominating, Lincoln again stranded the Natomas offense, this time on their one. With ears laid back, a gang of Zebras collapsed the visitor’s pocket and sacked the quarterback for a 2-point safety. The following free kick set the Zebras up at the Natomas 22-yard line. Two plays later, a familiar No. 23 found his way into the end zone for his fourth TD of the contest. In spite of his individual performance, Stewart deflected his accomplishments and instead chose to thank his teammates. “I couldn’t have done it without my team,” said Stewart. “I just want to thank my offensive line tonight, without them, this was not possible.” Coach Paul expressed his joy for his team’s performance in a postgame interview, but put his emphasis on the road ahead. “We got nine games ahead of us,” said the coach. “We take them one game at a time.” LINCOLN 44, NATOMAS 6 TEAM LEADERS PASSING – Isaiah Garcia, 0-2-1. RUSHING – Harrison Stewart 11-62, Dakota Shine 6-74, Andrew Fagen 9-10, Kyle Kettlehunt 8-62, Isaiah Garcia 5-35. TACKLES – Kyle Kettlehunt 5, Tanner Boatman 4, Matt Moss 4, Mitchell Holt 3, Harrison Stewart 3. SACKS – Harrison Stewart 1, Tanner Boatman 1, Eric Benjamin 1. INTERCEPTION – Tate Thiel 1-20. SAFETY – Tristen Triano 1 TOUCHDOWNS – Harrison Stewart 3 (rush) 1 (defense), Andrew Fagen 1 (rush), Isaiah Garcia 1 (rush).