Lincoln’s Nickel Meyers is stopped by Harrisburg’s Bailey Schriever at Howard Wood Field on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.
Class 11AA Harrisburg didn’t look overmatched at all going up against top-ranked 11AAA Lincoln on Friday night, but to actually win the game you’ve got to score points, and the Patriots made that just too tall a task for the Tigers.
Nickel Meyers caught seven passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead Lincoln, as the Pats improved to 6-0 with a 35-14 win at Howard Wood Field.
Lincoln led 14-0 at halftime, at which point the Tigers had driven into Patriot territory a few times, and a stop just before the intermission loomed large. Harrisburg had first-and-goal at the 3-yard line with less than a minute to go and no timeouts. On first and second down, runs failed (though running back Jonathan Kabambi appeared to be incorrectly ruled down on one of them). With the clock ticking at under 20 seconds, Tiger quarterback Shaye Slaughter spiked the ball to stop the clock, and after a false start pushed them back , their fourth down pass fell incomplete.
A touchdown would’ve pulled the Tigers within one score with a chance to tie as they received the second-half kick. Instead, the Pats struck for a pair of third quarter touchdowns, building their lead to 28-0 on a seven-yard run by Braxton Large and a 67-yard toss from Isaiah Roach to Meyers.
“It was huge to have a defensive stand like we did just before half,” said Lincoln coach Aaron Beavers. “We were kind of soft in the middle of the field, but we really hardened up near the goal line. We talked at halftime about making sure that we made that count. Getting up by three scores really was important.”
Harrisburg finished the game with 362 yards of offense, but their inability to finish drives in the first half cost them. They finally got on the board with a 29-yard strike from Slaughter to Paul Paul, added an 80-yard pass and run to Drew Andela, and got a break when a Roach pass was intercepted on a deflection with 5:39 to go. That gave Harrisburg one last glimmer of hope, but the Tigers quickly turned the ball over on downs.
“Story of the game the last two weeks, we’re stalling out when we get inside the 20,” said Harrisburg coach Brandon White, whose team fell to 4-2. “Just little things. We’re not all on the same page for some reason. Our kids are playing hard, but that gets you only so far.”
Slaughter finished the game 13 of 25 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while Kabambi ran for 137 yards on 18 carries.
“That running back is as good as we’ve seen,” Beavers said. “And their quarterback was really good, too. They were a good team and that’s what we expected based on what we saw on film.”
Lincoln used special teams to get on the board first, with Ned Sudbeck blocking a Tiger punt and taking it 68 yards for a score midway through the first quarter, giving the Patriots a 7-0 advantage. They extended their lead on a 15-play, 78-yard drive in the second quarter, one that ended on a gorgeous across-the-field fade from Roach to Meyers to make it 14-0. They got their final score on a 17-yard run by Large in the fourth quarter.
Roach ended the day 12-of-19 for 166 yards with two touchdowns passes. He rushed for 70 yards as well, but was intercepted three times. Large rushed for 108 yards and two scores, while Dalton Jones had 16 tackles and Ethan Schilling 11 to pace the Pats defense.
“We’re going to learn a lot from this game,” said White, whose team plays Yankton next week. “We can take a lot of positives from it. We’ve got great kids. They’re going to keep working, we’ve just got to break down the film and fix the mistakes so we can get a win at Yankton.”
Harrisburg 0 0 0 14 – 14
Lincoln 7 7 14 7 – 35
LHS – Ned Sudbeck 68 blocked punt return (Teren Schuster kick)
LHS – Nickel Meyers 11 pass from Isaiah Roach (Schuster kick)
LHS – Braxton Large 7 run (Schuster kick)
LHS – Meyers 67 pass from Roach (Schuster kick)
HHS – Paul Paul 29 pass from Shaye Slaughter (kick failed)
LHS – Large 17 run (Schuster kick)
HHS – Drew Andela 80 pass from Slaughter (Kain Kittelson pass from Dylan Tams)
RUSHING: HHS – Jonathan Kabambi 18-137, Alex Hensch 3-17, Tams 3-10, Slaughter 3-3; LHS – Large 18-108, Roach 8-70, Sudbeck 3-20, Blake Smith 2-10, Dalton Jones 1-1, Lucas Heitkamp 1-1.
PASSING: HHS – Slaughter 13-25-1-193, Kittelson 0-1-0-0; LHS – Roach 12-19-3-166
RECEIVING: HHS – Bailey Schirever 4-35, Andela 3-97, Devon Thilges 3-31, Kabambi 2-1, Paul 1-29; LHS – Meyers 7-131, Fuad Legesse 2-13, Jones 1-20, Paul Thanel 1-3, Sudbeck 1-(-1)
MORE PREPS INSIDE
Roundup: O’Gorman’s Dodi Makwinja powered the Knights to a 42-7 rout of Watertown, while Jake Comeaux lifted
Brandon Valley to a 49-35 win over Aberdeen Central, Page 4D
Online: View more photos from games at argusleader.com