Prep football: Just's 4 TDs lead Lincoln to homecoming win over GB West

Prep football: Just's 4 TDs lead Lincoln to homecoming win over GB West

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Prep football: Just's 4 TDs lead Lincoln to homecoming win over GB West

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Sometimes lightning does strike twice. Or in Ethan Just’s case, four times.

The Manitowoc Lincoln running back gave the rain-soaked Ships fans something to cheer about from the start during Saturday’s 56-18 homecoming win against Green Bay West, returning the opening kickoff 81-yards for a touchdown. It was the first of four scoring plays for the senior.

The game had been delayed twice for lightning, but the first came roughly 25 minutes before kickoff while players were warming up to only postpone kickoff by 40 minutes.

Players and fans alike were jubilant about Just’s return, although Ships’ coach John Dixon wasn’t among them.

“It was exciting to see Ethan return the kick but it was also a bit frustrating,” Dixon said. “We were supposed to get the ball first on offense and with the return we weren’t able to run any plays. Although, it’s not often you get to start your first possession with a 7-0 lead so that was nice.”

For the Lincoln players, they were simply happy to be out on the field including senior quarterback Brennan Mrotek.

“We were sitting in the shed and the rain kept coming down and coming down,” said Mrotek. “We still had our heads in the game, but we just wanted to get back on the field and get playing for homecoming. This will be one to remember for a long time.”

Lincoln’s defense held the Wildcats to a three-and-out on their first possession only to fumble the punt to give the ball right back to Green Bay. Once the Ships were able to start a drive, it was Just who made it a short one, scampering in from 41 yards out to give Lincoln a quick 14-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Brandon Schmoock recovered a Wildcats fumble deep in Green Bay territory to set up a Drew Dixon seven-yard touchdown run.

The fumble was one of two turnovers Lincoln converted almost immediately into points, with an an Alex Emme interception leading to a five-yard touchdown run by Just. The Wildcats also botched a punt at the Green Bay five yard line, which was also turned into a Ships touchdown run by Cameron Jaeger on the very next play.

Both Dixon and Just added touchdown runs of one and 30 yards, respectively, before the half came to a close as the Ships took a commanding 49-6 lead into halftime. The duo combined for 154 yards rushing in the first half before sitting out the rest of the game, with 92 coming from Just and 62 from Dixon.

As a team Lincoln outran Green Bay 261-52, the last of which for the Ships came on a Bailey Seidl 11-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter.

With the pair of running backs carrying the load, Mrotek wasn’t asked to do too much, but delivered when called upon. Mrotek completed 2-of-2 passes, both to Jaeger, for a total of 60 yards.

Ships senior offensive lineman Wesley Lodel said the players were nervous about the conditions but their fears soon dissipated like the rain as the game progressed.

“It’s always fun playing in the rain with this group of guys and we made the best of it,” Lodel said. “We didn’t play well last week in similar conditions. We have great running backs so we knew we’d be able to run the ball. We never have a dull homecoming but we got the win we were expecting.”

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