LINCOLN — The start of Friday’s game couldn’t have started any worse for the Lincoln Cardinals, but Lincoln’s speed prevailed in a 54-14 win over the Sarcoxie Bears.
Sarcoxie started the game with a fake hand-off and no Lincoln player saw quarterback Chris Comerford running free on the left side until it was too late.
He scored from 93 yards out to put the Bears up 7-0 only 15 seconds into the game.
“We had three guys did exactly what they weren’t supposed to do,” said Lincoln coach Danny Morrison. “It’s frustrating. You prepare all week and you think you’re ready for Friday night and the very first play of the game that happens.”
The Bears got the ball back 18 seconds into the game as they recovered a fumble on the kickoff return.
But Lincoln forced a three-and-out and quickly took the lead and never looked back.
The second half start wasn’t pretty for Lincoln either.
The Cardinals fumbled the kickoff return and the Bears started their drive at the Lincoln 35-yard line.
Lincoln’s defense forced a four-and-out to keep the Bears from taking advantage of the turnover.
On Lincoln’s first drive of the game, runs by Heath Renno and Lane Johnson got Lincoln to the Sarcoxie 42-yard line and Boone Kroenke found Mason Sanders wide open down the right sideline for the score.
Sanders bobbled the ball but collected it inside the 10 and crossed the goal line.
Kroenke ran it in for two points, making it 8-7 Cardinals.
Renno found open space on Lincoln’s second drive for a 69-yard score on the first play, giving the Cardinals a 14-7 lead.
Johnson’s one-yard score and a Kroenke run in for two points made it 22-7 in the second quarter.
Renno found the end zone late in the first half and Kroenke added the two points again, making it 30-7 at the half.
Aaron Kranz got an interception to give Lincoln the ball to set up that scoring drive.
Blake Roberts returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and the two-point conversion made it 46-7 Lincoln.
“We try and force turnovers a lot,” Morrison said. “We didn’t get the pressure we’re used to but a couple interceptions really helped.”
Lincoln has outscored its five opponents 246-29, including three shutouts.
Rising up in the ranks
The Cardinals entered the game ranked seventh in Class 1 and second in the district standings behind Skyline.
Skyline beat Summit Christian Academy 55-18 on Friday.
“That’s kind of our goal is to get the maximum amount of points we can get for district standings,” Morrison said. “If we’re up by 13 then we’re happy.”
Lincoln will host Kaysinger Conference and district foe Tipton next week.
Tipton lost 47-0 at Father Tolton on Friday and enters the game 2-3.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.