Unbeaten Lincoln stomps El Dorado 42-7

By: Galen Kusic Special to the News-Messenger
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After a disappointing 35-28 loss to the El Dorado Cougars in Placerville last year in which the Zebras blew a 28-12 lead in the third quarter, the Zebras avenged that loss Friday, 42-7 at Alexander Grey Sports Complex. Lincoln hit the ground running from the first snap until the final whistle and proved why they are the real deal, improving to 6-0 on the season. Starting from their own ten, the Zebras equally dispersed the ball to running backs Tim Bevins, Moses Stanley and Alex Cowden on six straight carries before quarterback Alex Stewart found Stanley in the corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown strike with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter. "We talked about setting the tone the first play, and not having any let down this week," Lincoln head coach Ken Lowe said. "We were much more focused this week in practice." It was only the beginning, as the Zebras scored 42 unanswered points before the Cougars (2-4) got on the board, as Lincoln dominated in every facet of the game. "It's hard to stop our offensive push that we have," Bevins said. "They bring a lot in the box, we play-action and we hit our tight ends and receivers. We have athletic people, and our defense keeps making stops. Once that happens, it's all good from there." After the Zebras forced an El Dorado three-and-out with a sack by Steven Gunter, the Zebras scored again - this time on a five-play, 74-yard drive capped by a touchdown pass from Stewart to Dylan Croisant. The ball was up for grabs, but Croisant took it away from the defender and broke away down the sideline for a Lincoln touchdown. "We have definitely put in a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of fundamentals. Everybody is working hard, it's paying off," Croisant said. "We start off on Monday practice, coaches emphasize a lot to work hard and get it done." After forcing another three-and-out, Lincoln played smash-mouth football again, running the ball nine straight times down the field before Cowden rammed it up the gut for a three-yard touchdown to extend Lincoln's lead to 21-0 with 15 seconds in the first quarter. The running back trio of Bevins, Stanley and Cowden was balanced and effective. Stanley finished with 103 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. Bevins picked up 37 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Cowden finished with 50 yards on five carries and a touchdown. "We like to draw up the defense a little bit, once the defense is drawn up short we try to throw the ball in behind them," Lowe said. "We have a lot of threats on offense, and its nice to have that with a lot of speed in the backfield." On the ensuing kickoff, Lincoln recovered after an El Dorado fumble at the Cougar 16-yard line, but the Zebras would come away with no points. However, the Zebras would force another three-and-out, before a bobbled snap resulted in a blocked punt. It took only three plays and 29 yards for junior running back Oscar Fernandez to find the end zone and put Lincoln up 28-0 with over six minutes still left to play in the half. After another stop and decent punt return by Bo Avery, Lincoln drove 39 yards on five plays culminated by Stewart's third touchdown pass of the night, this time a 21-yard connection to senior wide out Kyron Riley to put the Zebras up 35-0 with three minutes to play in the half. The Zebras allowed only two El Dorado first downs in the half, one stemming from a penalty. The second half started with more of the same, as Lincoln forced a fumble and recovered on the Cougar 15, before Bevins ran over a couple defenders to get in the end zone, and make it 42-0. "It keeps going, it feels good inside, so we keep doing it, you know," Bevins said. "Practice winning everyday, that's our motto." MacEnzie McAfee finally got the Cougars on the board when he found Merrit Williams in the end zone with 11:55 to go in the game. Lincoln will take on Marysville next week in the last home game of the season. NOTES: Lincoln Kicker Garrett Cardinet has now scored 32 points for the Zebras. He has missed only one PAT all season.