In its final home game of the season, Lincoln displayed the many measures of success to be had for the Cardinals in 2016 — shutouts, time played under a running clock, and dominance on its own turf.
Boone Kroenke scored four touchdowns, Derek Stephens rushed for 156 yards and Tyler Kronke returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown in a 46-0 victory Saturday over Midway.
Stephens, who finalized Lincoln’s first trip to the state semifinals with a 68-yard touchdown in the game’s closing minute, said ultimate success is two games away.
“It’s just another step,” Stephens said. “Since day one, we’ve been saying 11-26-16, the day of the state championship. Just another step and we’ll be there.”
Lincoln (13-0) faces Monroe City on the road 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 with six shutouts on its résumé.
The Cardinal defense devastated the most promising Midway drive in the second quarter to preserve a clean slate. After Midway crept into Lincoln territory, Dominic Simmons sacked Vikings quarterback Blake Mincks and Tyler Kroenke raced the fumble more than 60 yards for a touchdown.
After the defensive score, Lincoln led 24-0. Cardinals head coach Danny Morrison set a team goal for a 35-point lead at half to force a running clock, but said the sack and fumble recovery for a score was just as crucial.
“To me, that was the nail right there,” Morrison said. “You could just tell it took the wind out of their sails, got our boys up a little more, played hard and just finished the ride.”
Boone Kroenke was a dynamic threat under center. He scored on Lincoln’s first drive with a controlled, no-nonsense keeper from 2 yards out. Boone scored again on a sweep left, and nailed Blake Roberts on the 2-point conversion after a spin off a tackler and wild scramble.
Roberts caught a 30-yard touchdown from Boone a minute before halftime. After Lincoln’s only failed 2-point conversion of the game, the Cardinals led 30-0.
A sack ended Midway’s drive to begin the second half. The Cardinals followed with a 90-yard drive punctuated by Boone Kroenke’s third rushing touchdown.
Stephen’s final touchdown sparked a Lincoln crowd only marginally deterred by a Saturday afternoon start on the first day of rifle season. He said his touchdown was humble task of out-running an opponent — an act the Cardinals have performed for four months.
“I broke through the secondary, where the backers were, and just turned on the jets and went,” Stephens said. “I just hoped no one caught me.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.