Lincoln opens league play Friday at Whitney

Zebras seek first win after falling 36-14 to Monterey Trail
By: Galen Kusic Special to The News Messenger
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Lincoln High’s varsity football team opens the Pioneer Valley League season at Whitney Friday. The Wildcats are 3-0 on the season while the Zebras are 0-3. Whitney crushed visiting Valley 35-6 Friday and it has outscored its opponents 110-18 so far. Whitney’s senior running Zack Graves has rushed for nine touchdowns and thrown two more and senior Jake Snyder is also having a big season at receiver for the Wildcats. “This was one of our toughest pre-seasons ever, and the only positive is that it’s over,” Lincoln head coach Ken Lowe said. “We just have to try and re-group for league play next week. We are 0-0 and that is what counts.” Friday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Lincoln attempted to get into the win column Friday, but instead took a hard loss on the road to the Division-1, Monterey Trail Mustangs, 36-14. “They are a Division-1 football team,” Lowe said. “They get off the football well – they beat us on the line tonight. That’s the first time we’ve been beaten on the line this season. We just ended up on the wrong end.” Lincoln started the scoring in the first quarter when Alex Cowden broke free for a gain of 31 yards, setting up a Mathew Paul touchdown from two yards out to make it 7-0. The Zebras didn’t even allow a Mustang to step over the fifty-yard line until ten minutes left to go in the half, but it all came unraveled from there. After two costly penalties and a personal foul, the Mustangs moved within the 25-yard line to secure a touchdown for C.C. Carpenter, tying the game at seven. The Zebras soon went three-and-out, and in the process of punting gave up the ball on downs due to a miscommunication. With the great field position Monterey Trail gained, it was able to score quickly on a 30-yard run, taking a 14-7 lead. On the next Lincoln possession, the Mustangs blocked the punt and recovered the ball on the Lincoln 26. With 4.4 seconds left on the clock, Monterey Trail struck again – this time for a 20-yard post route into the corner to make it 21-7 going into the half. “I think we kind of got down on ourselves a little bit after they put a couple quick scores on the board and the score before the half really put a dagger in us,” Lowe said. The Mustangs scored with more than ten minutes left on the clock in the third quarter and converted a two-point conversion to increase the margin to 29-7. The Zebras continued to hold on as quarterback Tyler Freymond rolled out and threw a perfect pass to Mathew Holt in the end zone to close the lead to 29-14. Freymond got banged around throughout the night and completed 4-of-13 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Monterey Trail scored again when Mannie Acito returned a kickoff over 60 yards. From there the Mustangs ran the clock down and scored with less than two minutes remaining to make the final score 36-14. “I think we’ll have a good season honestly – we just need to stay strong, focused and not get down so easily,” said Cowden, who ran for 79 of the team’s 184 yards on the ground. “Rushing and hitting our tight end is our strengths.” Lincoln’s junior varsity team won 28-24.