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Lincoln to try its luck on the road Friday

Pirates top Zebras 21-20
By: Galen Kusic Special to The News Messenger
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After last week’s 21-20 agonizing loss to visiting Wheatland High in its Homecoming Game, Lincoln’s varsity football team looks to bounce back against the Monterey Trail Mustangs Friday in Elk Grove. “Our mistakes kill us – we can’t put the ball on the ground like we did (against Wheatland),” head coach Ken Lowe said. “We need to shore up some special teams. We’re going against a D-1 team coming up this week and we’re excited – we’re the underdog.” Monterey Trail is in the same position as Lincoln, currently 0-2 coming into Friday’s game (7:15 p.m. kickoff). The Mustangs lost their season opener to Fairfield, 34-26, and lost to Elk Grove last week, 38-21. Rozale Byrd leads the Mustangs in rushing with an average of 4.9 yards per carry for 207 total with a touchdown. Five different Mustangs have scored touchdowns on the ground so far this season. Monterey Trail’s air attack has been virtually non-existent with quarterback Mannie Acierto throwing for 107 yards on 7-of-19 with two interceptions and one touchdown. Last week against Wheatland, the Zebras got down 21-6 at the half, only to storm their way back to start the third quarter, forcing a Wheatland three-and-out. It became a trend as the Pirates would not score again for the rest of the night. “We had a few defensive changes on our spread,” Lowe said. “That forced them to go back to their wing T, and that’s what (we had) been going over all week. Once we put the changes in on the spread we shut ‘em down and they couldn’t run their base offense.” With 7:13 left in the third quarter, Lincoln running back Tim Bevins broke from 15 yards out, running over a Wheatland defender into the end zone to close the Pirate lead to 21-14. The Zebras continued to make stops and then Lincoln’s Raymond Caster took over. First, he set up Lincoln with a 25-yard punt return down to the Wheatland 38. He then rushed for 28 yards on three carries before punching it in from the one to bring Lincoln within 21-20 with 6:45 to go in the game. Lowe opted to go for the two-point conversion, but the Zebras were stopped at the one and eventually fumbled. Wheatland managed to run the clock down to 1:28 when Lincoln got the ball back on their own 15-yard line. “I thought, let’s go for it – get the ball back and have some time to put another score on the board,” Lowe said. “We had to turn to our passing game with two minutes left to play – I think if we could have had time to pound the ball in and out, we could have put another score on the board.” After four incomplete passes from quarterback Tyler Freymond, the game was over. Freymond, a senior, finished 6-of-14 passing for 123 yards on the night. “Football is a game of inches,” Lowe said. “Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it does not.” Alex Cowden rushed 13 times for 74 yards Friday while the Zebras rushed for 205 yards on 43 carries overall in the loss. Lincoln’s junior varsity team blanked Wheatland 26-0 Friday.