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Lincoln shows great heart but can’t match Wheatland offense

Pirates score late to secure 31-18 win
By: Jim Linsdau Gold Country Media
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WHEATLAND _ The Lincoln High Fighting Zebras came into last Friday night’s game dealing with a lot of emotions after the tragic loss of a teammate, classmate, and friend. However, the club showed they still had plenty of fight they just ran short on Zebras. Relying heavily on their running attack, Lincoln managed to stay close to Wheatland High’s Pirates, but injuries, cramps, and fatigue eventually took its toll. The Zebras trailed by only a point going into the fourth quarter, but didn’t have enough in reserve to finish. Wheatland scored twice in the closing minutes for a 31-18 triumph. “I’m really proud of them, Lincoln football head coach Ken Lowe said of his team’s effort. “We were right there, we just didn’t have enough in the tank. Injuries really, really hurt us.” Rushing workhorse Isaac Allen had 20 carries for 152 yards and one touchdown. He also had another score on a 97-yard touchdown return in the first half. However, Allen was unable play in the fourth quarter because of a strained ACL. The Fighting Zebras also couldn’t get anything going with their passing game. Junior quarterback James Hubbard attempted only one pass in the first half and it fell incomplete. “We just need to stick to it and keep driving,” said a subdued and limping Allen as to how Lincoln might improve its offense. “We get to the red zone and we choke.” The Zebras did score on runs of six and three yards, but couldn’t seem to sustain a drive in the second half. Running backs Jon Soto and Davis Dykstra tried to pick up where Allen left off in the final period, but penalties and missed opportunities allowed Wheatland to stay in control. Soto had 12 carries for 178 yards; Dykstra picked up 35 yards on six carries. Jordan Tayeh had three carries for 21 yards and one touchdown. The Pirates Tyler Larcom carried the lion’s share of the load for his club rushing 23 times for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He also broke an 81-yarder early in the first quarter to quickly put Lincoln on its heels. Pirates’ quarterback Justin Bragg also kept the Zebras’ defense off balance with his passing early in the game. Bragg was able to hit on strikes of 33, 27, and 47 in the first quarter, the 27-yard toss to Garrett White turned into a score. Bragg also had a scoring pass of 28 yards to Liessman in the second quarter. Lincoln’s defense stiffened in the second half, but the offense just couldn’t sustain a drive. The Zebras kept within one of the host club until the final six minutes of the game when the Pirates broke open the game. “For them to fight to the end, the defense came up big and got some big stops in the second half,” said Lowe. “We just couldn’t get our offense going in the second half.” With less than a minute remaining, the Zebras went on a sustained march with Soto virtually running the length of the field on five carries. The drive died when Soto was tackled at Wheatland’s 3-yard line as time ran out. The loss dropped Lincoln to 1-3 on the season, Wheatland improved to 3-0. The Fighting Zebras return to their home field, Friday to host 2-1 Argonaut.