But for Lincoln football coach Jared Shaner, Friday night's 48-8
loss to Springfield High seemed to be the most disappointing defeat
of the season.
Allowing 42 unanswered points after taking an 8-6 first-quarter lead
had a lot to do with Shaner's disappointment.
But so did a myriad of small mistakes.
"Any time you come out, you jump offsides, you drop passes -- little
things like that, those are mental errors," said Shaner. "To me,
that means you weren't mentally prepared to play the game. To me, we
weren't focused enough to come out here.
"And we haven't had a lot of those problems throughout the year. But
tonight, it sure felt like it."
The Railers got off on the wrong foot when they allowed the Senators
to strike quickly in the first quarter. Springfield got on the board
just 1:38 into the contest, taking a 6-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, a string of odd plays actually wound up
yielding points for the Railers.
After Lincoln had marched down into the Senator red zone,
quarterback James Leisinger threw an interception that the
Springfield defender hauled in at the 1-yard line.
A few plays later, the Railer defense registered their first safety
of the season to get two points on the board.
On the ensuing free kick, Lincoln receiver Darvez Stancle returned
the ball 41 yards into Springfield territory. On the next play,
Railer fullback Brendan Fitzsimmons bulldozed his way into the end
zone on a 22-yard run.
Lincoln was ahead 8-6, with all the momentum in the world.
But the Railers failed to capitalize.
Instead, the Senators would rattle off 25 unanswered points before
In one instance, Shaner attempted to recapture the momentum by
calling a fake punt on a fourth-and-10 from the Lincoln 12-yard
line, with the Railers trailing 17-8 in the second quarter. Although
the play had worked earlier in the first quarter, on the second
attempt, Leisinger's pass to Stancle fell incomplete and the
Senators would score two plays later.
"It all depends on how the corner lines up on Darvez," said Shaner.
"Darvez had inside leverage on the guy... When we see that, we take
[to top of second column]
"But the second one, we shouldn't have called. It was a poor
decision. I was upset, because when we punted before, we had a
net (field position difference) of 19 yards. I was upset about
that. If I had that one to do over, I would take that back and
Another issue for the Railers was field position. Throughout the
game, Senator kicker Mike Severino boomed kickoffs to inside
Lincoln's 10-yard line or deeper.
If the Railer offense didn't gain ground, oftentimes the
Senators got the ball back with only half a football field to
"The kid kicked it to the goal line darn near every kick," said
Shaner. "And we got no good returns. We were lucky to get to the
"That was a mental roadblock for us. We needed to go out and get
two first downs and get ourselves close to midfield so we could
feel good about what we were doing. But we couldn't do that.
Their defense was very aggressive. Field position was a huge factor
Leisinger went 4 for 12 on the evening for 93 yards and two
Stancle finished with two receptions for 74 yards.
Fitzsimmons finished with eight rushing attempts for 43 yards.
All told, Railer runners had 43 attempts for 211 yards.
Lincoln travels to Taylorville next week, in their
second-to-last game of the season.
[By JUSTIN TIERNEY]