The Lincoln football team has come a long way.
Two years ago, Lincoln was not playing a full varsity schedule, playing a mix of 8-man, varsity and junior varsity for 2013. Now, one year after their return to varsity football, the Cardinals are vying for a Kaysinger Conference title with a chance to finish the regular season 9-0.
“We were really young in our program still a couple years ago,” said Lincoln coach Danny Morrison. “We knew we had a young bunch two years ago. Those kids who are juniors now were freshmen at the time. We knew they were good kids who were going to work hard and represent our program well. The reason I think we’re seeing such success now is that these boys are finally older, they’ve matured, they’ve gotten into the junior and senior years and they’re not used to losing.”
Lincoln has outscored teams 396-49 — averaging more points per game than they have allowed in total all season — and on Friday has a chance to unseat Cole Camp as conference champion.
Lincoln’s defense has recorded four shutouts so far this year after not recording any in 2014.
“We don’t have a bunch of big guys,” Morrison said. “We just react to the ball well and get to the ball well. We just kind of use speed to our advantage. … We try to get as many people to the ball carrier as we can. That’s our go-to scheme.”
The one regular season foe still standing in their way: Cole Camp, and the Bluebirds’ power rushing attack.
“This week we’ve worked on trying to stop that, holding gaps and different things like that,” Morrison said.
Cole Camp comes into the game 6-2 but with the losses to non-conference Skyline and Lockwood, the Bluebirds also can wrap up a conference title with a win.
Both teams have a chance to improve their spot in district standings. In Class 2, District 7, Cole Camp is No. 5 with 36.5 points but No. 4 Hallsville and No. 3 South Callaway are both within three points. Passing one or both would give Cole Camp a home game in the first round of the district playoffs. Currently No. 6 in the district is St. Paul Lutheran, just .03 points behind the Bluebirds, meaning a loss could knock Cole Camp lower.
In Class 1, District 4, Lincoln is No. 5 in the latest Class 1 state poll but No. 2 in the district, trailing Skyline by more than 10 points.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles