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Lincoln leads 28-12 at half, falls 35-28 to El Dorado

By: Galen Kusic Special to The News Messenger
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The Lincoln High varsity football team went down to the El Dorado Cougars, 35-28, in front of a tough homecoming crowd in Placerville Friday night. After dominating the first half and going into the third quarter with a commanding 28-12 lead, the Zebras allowed 23 unanswered points to the Cougars, and did not score the rest of the game. “They made some pretty good defensive adjustments on us, and we had trouble moving the ball,” Lincoln head coach Ken Lowe said. “They moved the ball well in the second half.” Lincoln ran all over El Dorado in the first half, combining as a team for 248 yards on the ground. Lincoln only managed 46 yards total in the second half as the Zebras rushed for one yard in the fourth quarter. “We need to get the ball to the outside more,” Lowe said. “Our speed sweep was working early, but they kind of found a way to shut that down. We couldn't find a way to get back to the outside.” That lone rushing yard in the fourth quarter came on several drives that were stuffed as soon as they started. Holes that were opening wide up in the first half were closed with nowhere to run. “We came in too confident in the second half,” said Lincoln junior lineman Jacob Tryon. “We just need to work harder in practice and come back and win Friday.” For the Zebras, Matthew Paul had an excellent game on offense and defense. Paul had 118 yards on the ground and a touchdown. It looked like Lincoln would pull away with the victory when Tyler Freymond threw a perfect fade pattern to Tyler Linarez in the corner of the end zone to increase the lead to 22-12 before the half. Freymond then took it himself on the next drive for the second time of the game on a quarterback option to increase the Lincoln lead to 28-12 at the break. Unfortunately for the Zebras, C.J. Wheeler scored four touchdowns for the Cougars, three in the second half to help El Dorado prevail. The Zebras had a chance to come back and tie it with 2:47 left on the clock, but the Cougar defense held and the game was over. “Our stamina went down a little bit, I know the guys really wanted to win bad,” said Lincoln senior lineman Richard Reyes. “Everybody gave 100 percent. We have to try and get back on a winning streak now.” A crucial fourth-and-one for the Zebras on their own 40-yard-line helped turn the momentum for the Cougars. The Zebras turned the ball over on downs and El Dorado quickly tied the game at 28. From there, Lincoln was only left the one chance at the end, and it was too little too late. “We have to take one game at a time, but we're definitely climbing a mountain now,” Lowe said. “We have three of the tougher teams in our league coming up. We have to keep the kids optimistic and be upbeat. It's still possible - we win three in a row, we're still ok.”