LINCOLN–(KFOR Sept. 22)–In the 82-year history of Lincoln’s oldest football rivalry, Lincoln High and Lincoln Northeast have seen their share of battles but Friday night’s game at Seacrest Field came down to defense.
But the offense shined for both teams in the second half and defense helped stop a two-point conversion late to give the Links a 22-21 victory over the Rockets in a game heard on KFOR. Lincoln High improved to 2-3 while Northeast dropped to 0-5.
After Northeast’s initial drive ended with a turnover on downs at the Lincoln High 18-yard line, the Links marched down field behind their wishbone offense and capped off the 82-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run from Zion Jenkins to go ahead 7-0 with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
The Rockets would give the ball back after a three-and-out and the Links failed to capitalize late in the first quarter, after Landon Hoff intercepted a Remy Chapman pass. A series of quick gains up field in the 2nd quarter for Northeast from Hoff, the Rockets’ quarterback, and running back Mike Dirksen put the ball in Lincoln High territory, but a fourth down pass attempt from Hoff to wide-receiver Jacian Brown fell incomplete.
Northeast, though, would come through with under two minutes to go in the first half, with a series of run plays from Hoff and Dirksen setting up another fourth down situation that saw Brown’s eight-yard gain sustain the Rocket drive. A few plays later, Hoff found wide-receiver Levi Sherman on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter to tie the game.
Lincoln High took charge in the third quarter, benefiting from a face mask penalty from Northeast that put the ball at the Rocket 8-yard line. Two plays later, Javarea Mason ran the ball in from six yards out with 7:25 left in the quarter, with the Links leading 14-7.
Northeast responded with gains to midfield on a draw play for Hoff, which later led to a 50-yard pass play to Sherman to the Links’ three-yard line. Hoff would take it into the end zone on the next play and scored the two-point conversion with 5:24 left in the third to put the Rockets ahead 15-14.
After Northeast failed to convert on fourth down, Lincoln High marched 84-yards and capped the drive with a one-yard run from Mason, who also would score the two-point conversion to put the Links ahead 22-15 with 2:01 left.
Northeast wouldn’t go away, as Hoff connected with Dupree Pleasant on a 43-yard pass to the Lincoln High five-yard line. After a Links penalty, Hoff would take it into the end zone on a quarterback keeper. But the two-point conversion attempt from Hoff came up short with the Lincoln High defense stopping him at the tw0-yard line. The Links would take a couple of knees to end the game.