Games they could have won.
Games that maybe they should have won.
During last season's 3-6 campaign, a 34-27 loss to Springfield Lanphier still stands out as the one that got away from the Lincoln
Entering Friday's 7 p.m. rematch at Memorial Stadium, the
objective for this year's Railer squad is to not look back next
season with the same kind of regret.
"We've talked to the players just a little bit about the fact that
just since (offensive coordinator Davis Hodom) and I have been here,
we've only beaten them once," said Lincoln coach Andy McDonald when
asked about his team's history with the Lions. "We just kind of
questioned if maybe, for some reason, we've taken them lightly.
"We have no business doing that. We're in no position to take
anybody lightly, in any week. We've got to come out ready to play as
if they were the top team in the conference or our biggest rival."
The difference in last season's Lanphier game has reared its ugly
head in every game this season for the Railers: turnovers. After
entering halftime with a 20-14 lead, Lincoln allowed three second-half turnovers, which ultimately allowed Lanphier to take the lead
and hold on for a narrow victory, despite a furious Railer comeback
in the final minutes.
Another major factor in last season's contest
was the performance of Everett Clemons, the Lions' dynamic running
Clemons dashed for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries,
gashing the Railer defense for multiple lengthy touchdown runs.
A force on the basketball court as well, Clemons' greatest asset is
his breakaway speed, which also allows him to hit seams in the
"We can play a defense perfectly up until the point of making a
tackle, and he's capable of taking the play a completely different
direction, cutting back, breaking a tackle and going," said McDonald of Clemons.
"We have to play defense as well as it can be played through the
tackle and have multiple guys making the tackle."
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Walking with swagger
Despite their 0-3 record, McDonald said he
felt a pep in his team's step this week after a good performance
in a 10-0 loss to highly regarded Jacksonville last week.
"I think it was a confidence-booster," said McDonald. "We had
high expectations going into the season, and losing the first
couple games, and Canton being a game where we were similar
athletically and losing that one (was difficult).
"I think playing as well as we did against Jacksonville and as
hard as we did ... I think the guys gained some confidence there.
We know what kind of program Jacksonville has and what they do
every year. I think taking them on like we did was definitely a
[By JUSTIN TIERNEY]
Justin Tierney's Railer football reports