Rickards coach Quintin Lewis figured his team would need a near-perfect performance to hang with Lincoln on Friday night.
But instead of perfect, the Raiders were sloppy, penalty-prone and lost six turnovers to help the Trojans to a 39-3 victory at Gene Cox Stadium.
Senior Taj Williams caught a touchdown pass and grabbed two interceptions for Lincoln, which has outscored its last three opponents 129-40.
“We knew in order to beat Lincoln that we had to play a very good game,” Lewis said. “We just didn’t do it tonight. It was one of those nights where everywhere we went, everything we did went wrong for us.”
Neither team had its sharpest effort. The Trojans and Raiders combined for 38 penalties and Rickards (2-2) had more penalty yards – 155 – than total yards of offense.
When the flags weren’t flying, Lincoln (4-0) found success with its rushing attack. Senior Ben Robinson followed up last week’s three-touchdown outing in a win over Chiles with 92 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Eleven different players record a rushing attempt for the Trojans, who finished with 162 yards on the ground.
“(Robinson) is just so short and powerful and explosive, a lot of times they don’t see him until the last second,” Lincoln coach Yusuf Shakir said.
“We just have a committee of backs that keeps all those guys fresh and ready to go.”
After giving quarterbacks Cameron Joseph and Kendall Randolph each a chance to start early in the season, Shakir opted to rotate his two signal-callers against the Raiders.
Each conducted scoring drives – Randolph connected with Jeffrey Williams for a 16-yard touchdown that opened the scoring, and Joseph found Myles Gaines and Taj Williams for a pair of touchdowns.
Lincoln’s defense meanwhile stifled the Raiders to the tune of 103 rushing yards and 29 passing yards. In addition to Williams’ two interceptions – which came on back-to-back plays for Rickards – the Trojans benefited from three fumbles and a muffed punt.
Kicker Sophonias Deldebo hit a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter to put the Raiders on the board.
“We’re explosive at times. We have to be consistently explosive though,” Shakir said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, but I am proud of us executing and finishing some things.”
The Raiders suffered two scary moments – first in the second quarter when senior Amion Carradine went down with a lower-leg injury and later in the third when Kentron James suffered an injury to his shoulder/neck area.
Both players left the stadium and were taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Lewis said that James “should be fine” – he left as a precaution against a neck/head injury – and that he hoped to have Carridine back later this season.
“I thought they fought harder (after the injuries),” Lewis said. “When one guy went down, we fought a little harder. The ball just didn’t fall our way.”