WIAA football: Ships hope to knock off defending champs

WIAA football: Ships hope to knock off defending champs

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WIAA football: Ships hope to knock off defending champs

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In every sport, certain programs or teams set the bar everyone else seeks to eclipse. Lincoln’s opponent tonight, defending Division 1 State Champion Arrowhead, meets those criteria but Ships coach John Dixon isn’t fazed in the least.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Dixon said. “It’s a great opportunity to play a well respected program and a chance to measure ourselves, but it’s still a football game.”

No. 4 seeded Lincoln (7-3) will visit No. 1 Arrowhead (9-1) in the WIAA State Football Level 2 playoff hoping to accomplish something the Warhawks haven’t allowed an opponent to do all season according to WisSports.Net, score in the first half.

Arrowhead has outscored its opponents 266-0 in the first half, and 302-88 overall throughout the course of the campaign but again Dixon isn’t concerned.

“Statistics aren’t something we get worked up over,” Dixon said. “If we don’t score in the first quarter but win I’d be pleased.”

The game figures to be a matchup of what both teams do best, with Lincoln rushing for 2,860 yards at a clip of 6.2 yards per run while Arrowhead limits the opposition to 3.7 per run.

“They’re very well known for running the ball and good defense,” Dixon says of Arrowhead. “When you can do those two things, it’s a recipe for success…something’s got to give.

“They have a tremendous amount of talent, good size and getting off their blocks. We have to go into the game with confidence in our running game. There’s no magic play that will win the game.”

Dixon is also impressed with the Warhawks’ style of play, saying they don’t do anything too flashy in favor of playing sound football something both squads share in common.

Lincoln’s defense led the Fox River Classic Conference in sacks (33.5), forced fumbles (eight) and interceptions (12) meaning the Ships are capable of creating enough positive plays to swing momentum.

Another aspect in Lincoln’s favor is the overall versatility of running back Ethan Just, who led the Ships with 1,103 yards on the ground but proved explosive with two kick returns for touchdowns. Just is the focal point of a stable of backs including Drew Dixon (848) and Cameron Jaeger (603) who all finished in the top 10 in the FRCC in rushing.

In the end, Dixon feels if his team can limit mistakes and keep up what has been working all season long the Ships have a chance to take down the defending champs.

“If you don’t have negative plays, you’ll be alright,” Dixon said. “Our best defense is keeping their offense off the field.”

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