By their own admission, the Lincoln Trojans are far from a polished product on the football field.
They lack experience at key positions. Other players have new roles. And, of course, mistakes are expected in late August.
Yet, it’s also difficult to argue with Lincoln’s perfect start after two games.
Under the steady direction of quarterback Darius Harvey and a solid defensive performance, the Trojans blanked Pensacola, 27-0, in their home opener on Thursday at Cox Stadium.
Lincoln was coming off an emotional, 34-21 victory over South Gwinnett, Ga., five days ago in a game that was nationally televised by ESPN from Norcross High School.
“It feels good, it’s a win, but we still have a lot of stuff we have to work on,” Lincoln senior cornerback Kendall Randolph said.
“I am ready to get in the film room to see what our mistakes were so we can come out on Monday to get them right. We want to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes next week.”
Naturally, the film room will also feature Lincoln’s highlights against the Tigers (0-1).
Harvey accounted for all four scores, throwing touchdowns of 8, 23 and 35 yards and rushing for a 68-yard TD.
Lincoln’s defense, not to be outdone, forced eight punts and recorded two turnovers (fumble recovery and interception). And Brian Crews and Calvin Carlson proved to be a formidable kicking tandem — Crews had three punts in excess of 50 yards.
The Trojans’ shutout was assured when Pensacola pushed a 27-yard field-goal attempt wide left with two minutes remaining in the game.
“Tallahassee football is really good right now,” Pensacola coach Mike Bennett said. “We got better this week, even though we didn’t score. We moved the football against a really good defense.”
Lincoln scored on three of its first four possessions to lead 20-0 at the half.
Harvey, a transfer from Florida High, capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive to open the game with a 8-yard pass to tight end Devin Timmons.
Harvey found receiver John Burt on a 23-yard post to push the Trojans’ advantage to 14-0. Two possessions later, Harvey scooted 68 yards for a score to make it 20-0.
“We can be very, very good,” said Harvey, who accounted for 220 total yards.
“We have a young offensive line and they showed flashes of greatness. My job, I am just the facilitator — get our playmakers the ball and when my number is called, just make plays.”
Harvey rounded out Lincoln’s scoring with a 35-yard pass to sophomore receiver Ricky Henrilus to end the third quarter.
Harvey completed 8 of 15 passes for 150 yards. He also added 70 rushing yards on six carries. Henrilus had 82 yards on two receptions, while defensive end Josh Lindsey (fumble recovery) and Hunter Sheffield (interception) recorded turnovers for the winners.
Pensacola tailback Kevon Abrams had a game-high 139 rushing yards but it wasn’t nearly enough for the Tigers.
“They are fast, quick, they have good athletes,” Abrams said. “We kind of beat ourselves with the mistakes we made, but they out-played us.”
Lincoln coach Yusuf Shakir was pleased with the result, but also noted that the Trojans have plenty of work in front of them. They are at Cox Stadium on Thursday against Lake City Columbia.
“We have a young team,” Shakir said.
“I knew these first couple of games, we’re going to (have) ups and downs. They just have to get experience under the belts and nothing helps that but playing.”