Zebras left with cake on faces

Coach denies pulling stunt after 42-point loss
By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor Sports Editor
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Ken Lowe is willing to admit his Lincoln High School football team had a lousy week of practice as it prepared to play Placer last Friday night. He will even go as far to say the Hillmen had the Zebras’ “number.” The head coach becomes a bit frosted, however, when it comes to the cake the Hillmen found in the locker room after arriving at Lincoln. Lowe wants it to be known that his school had nothing to do with the cake or the “Go Lincoln” written on it. “Why would we want to incite them like that?” said Lowe, whose team was smashed like wedding cake in a 62-20 loss. Lowe had enough on his mind last week without making a trip to the supermarket to order a cake in time for the game. He blamed a Placer assistant coach for pulling the stunt and then incriminating the Zebras. Placer head coach Joey Montoya on Friday said no member of his staff was involved and that he believes it was a fan who did it. Montoya also said the cake was delivered to his classroom earlier in the day. Montoya added that he and Lowe have talked to clear the air. Last week was disappointing in more ways than one for Lowe. His team’s lackadaisical attitude in practice carried into the game. He could only watch as the Pioneer Valley League showdown turned into a letdown. As Monday’s practice, Lowe set the record straight with his players - and he did not remind them that Lincoln is 1-1 in the PVL and 5-2 overall. He pointed out their work ethic in practice, or lack thereof. Lowe never imagined he would have take time to address his players’ practice habits in the eighth week of the season. A three-game winning streak might have made the Zebras too fat and happy for their own good. “Our strategy was to remember why (the loss) happened,” he said. “We didn’t have a great week of practice. When you’ve had a little bit of success, you can think your effort is good enough. That causes complacency.” Practices this week have been intense, Lowe said, with the first-string offense going against the first-string defense. The backup players who simulate the opponent’s offense and defense are getting a break. “I usually don’t go with the No. 1s (on both sides) because I try to keep them healthy, but we’ve tightened some screws,” Lowe said. The Zebras will travel to Grass Valley on Friday to battle Bear River, which is also 5-2 overall. Lincoln will have to contain Sam Houston to avoid its first two-game losing streak this season. Houston has rushed for 972 yards, including 178 against Center last Friday, and nine touchdowns.