LINCOLN— Lincoln’s offensive attack was too much for Sacred Heart as the Cardinals beat the Gremlins 58-12 Friday night to move to 2-0 on the season.
The Gremlins fall to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in Kaysinger Conference play.
Both teams were flexing their offensive talent early. The Gremlins got on the board in the first minute and a half of the game when Chase Lyles slung a quick pass to Ben Smeltzer on the left side. Smeltzer broke away from the Cardinals down the left sideline for 62 yards.
But the Cardinals quickly answered back with two scores of their own. Boone Kroenke scrambled to the right for a 25-yard touchdown and Heath Renno punched it in for two points to give Lincoln an 8-6 lead in the middle of the first quarter.
A 31-yard run from Renno helped Lincoln get down the field on its next drive. The Cardinals handed it to Renno and Branigan Roark for much of the night and they mixed in pass plays when needed.
“The good thing is we got to rest Heath quite a bit,” said Lincoln coach Danny Morrison. “We didn’t sit there and pound him like we usually do. It’s going to be good for the upcoming week letting him stay a little rested. Branigan ran the ball fantastic.”
Kroenke floated a perfect pass to Jacob Copeland in the back corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown to give Lincoln a 14-6 lead early in the second quarter.
The Gremlins climbed back within two when Lyles connected to Smeltzer on a quick pass just like for the first score, but this time to the right side. Smeltzer broke a tackle a proceeded to sprint 69 yards to the end zone.
That would be the closest the Gremlins would get. Lincoln ended the first half with 14 unanswered points to take a 28-12 lead.
Kroenke swung it out to Roark from eight yards out for the Cardinals’ third score and Renno pinched it up the middle for four yards to put Lincoln up 28-12.
“We didn’t tackle worth a darn,” Sacred Heart coach Ben Lyles said. “There were a lot of plays that should have been a yard or two that turned into eight or 10.”
The Gremlins’ defense did get an interception from Cal Racy in the second quarter, but the ensuing drive ended with a punt.
In the second half, Sacred Heart drove down to the Cardinals’ 16-yard line, but turned it over on downs when Lyles’ pass to Trent Lyles was broken up by Cody Gregory.
The Cardinals responded to score four unanswered touchdowns.
I’m really impressed with the defense,” Morrison said. “When they are keeping the offense on the field it really helps us to generate those points.”
Roark scored from two yards and 19 yards out. Sanders picked off Chase Lyles’ pass and returned it for more than 30 yards for a score.
Sanders also grabbed a 25-yard touchdown from Kroenke to make it 58-12.
Lincoln will play at Osceola next week. Sacred Heart will play at Cole Camp at 2 p.m. Sept. 6.