He could have called the
second victory a considerable leap.
The Railers ran over
Springfield Southeast on Friday night, dismantling the Spartans
56-20 to earn their second victory in as many weeks and improve
their record to 2-3 on the season.
The offensive explosion was
so unprecedented, assistant coach Joe Ryan -- a 16-year veteran of
Lincoln's coaching staff -- told the Railers he believed it was the
highest point total in his tenure.
Friday night's dominant
performance left McDonald with a most satisfying feeling.
"It's nice to have things
going like that and score a lot of points," said McDonald. "It's a
nice reward for them, for all the hard work they put in throughout
The rout got started early,
with the Railers jumping out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead behind
touchdowns from quarterback James Leisinger and running back Zac
As it turned out, Leisinger
and Schleder were just getting started.
The duo combined for seven
of Lincoln's eight touchdowns, which included two connections
between Leisinger and Schleder on touchdown passes. Schleder ran for
two touchdowns and caught two more from Leisinger. Leisinger had
three touchdown runs of his own.
After the Railers stormed
to their 14-0 lead, the Spartans did mount some resistance.
Southeast quarterback Herman Senor found a wide-open Duane Barham on
a 46-yard touchdown strike after scrambling for time.
The Railers responded early
in the second quarter with a Schleder touchdown reception, but
again, the Spartans answered with another Senor touchdown -- this
time, a rushing score -- that cut the lead to 21-13.
And that's when the Railer
offense really took off.
With the combination of a
dominant offensive line, punishing inside runs by Leisinger and Andy
Krusz, speedy sweeps to the outside from Schleder and Moses Rogers,
and not a single turnover, the Railers rattled off 35 unanswered
points over the next two quarters, leading 56-13 until the game's
Defense and special teams
also came up with critical plays during Lincoln's stretch of
Defensive backs Dane Eimer
and Garrett Cooper each came up with interceptions as Senor and the
Spartans took to the air in an attempt to get back in the game.
The defensive effort was
spurred by some adjustments made by the coaching staff at halftime.
"Really, it was just going
back and reiterating some technique that guys have been taught,"
said McDonald. "There were just a couple plays where guys got out of
position and came up on the run. Our defensive line did a great job
of putting pressuring on (Senor) and had him running for his life."
[to top of second column]
On special teams, kickoff
specialist Logan Armbruster kept Southeast guessing with multiple
line-drive kicks that turned into fumbles, which, eventually, turned
into Railer points on the scoreboard.
In the third quarter, the
Spartans only ran three offensive plays, due to Lincoln's
unstoppable offense, stout defense and crafty special teams.
The offensive and defensive
lines drew particularly high praise from McDonald on a night when
the Railers were able to control the line of scrimmage.
"I'm real proud of them,"
said the coach of his linemen. "Early in the year, a lot of those
guys were playing both ways in the heat. Now, we're playing in some
cooler weather, and we're able to rotate more guys in. We're playing
a little fresher on both sides of the ball."
On a night when the
offense scored touchdowns on eight of their 10 possessions and
didn't commit a single turnover, McDonald also laid some praise on
his senior quarterback.
"The things with James that
you don't see are his leadership out there," said McDonald. "He's a
pretty intense guy and a very competitive kid. He's a very composed
guy. He's able to relay information to the players, if there's
something a little different that we need to tweak. But I think he
did a great job tonight."
The Railers' running attack
was led by Schleder, who finished with 113 yards on 14 attempts
along with his three rushing touchdowns. Rogers was close behind,
with 111 yards on 14 attempts, while Krusz had 12 attempts for 65
yards and Leisinger had 57 yards on eight attempts. Anthony Cannon
finished with 45 yards and a touchdown on seven attempts for
Leisinger was 2 for 7 for
21 yards, with both completions being touchdown passes to Schleder.
[By JUSTIN TIERNEY]
Justin Tierney's Railer football reports