Looking uncharacteristically lethargic and out of sorts, the Railers
were torn apart by the Tornadoes, losing 36-0. The loss dropped
Lincoln to 2-4 on the season.
Asked if last week's momentous
victory could have possibly impacted his team in a negative way in
this week's contest or if he thought they were lethargic in the
first half, Lincoln coach Andy McDonald said it was quite possible.
"It appears that way," said McDonald. "This was unexpected. I
expected our guys to be very excited, which they were, about beating
Springfield, and the prospects of these next four games and a shot
to get in the playoffs if we could win three more. A morale boost is
what I thought that game was.
"But, for whatever reason, it felt like we were (lethargic) as a
team. Not everybody. There were a few guys that were their normal
selves. But I think Taylorville was able to find some of the guys
who maybe weren't quite ready for the battle tonight."
Lincoln fell into a hole early, surrendering a touchdown on
Taylorville's game-opening drive. The Tornadoes used a trick play
and converted a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
For the first time since a season-opening loss to Jacksonville,
Lincoln's offense was never able to progress. The Railers were
forced to give the ball back to Taylorville, who scored again and
eventually took a 15-0 lead into halftime.
Lincoln appeared to get a brief spark from Cody Heidbreder's long
kick return to open the second half. But that drive would stall in
the red zone.
Taylorville responded with 21 more unanswered points to complete
No matter what Lincoln tried -- a halfback pass, a reverse, runs
to the inside, runs to the outside, drop-back passes or screen
passes -- it seems the Tornadoes had an answer.
"There wasn't anything much that we were productive with," said
McDonald. "We had five punts. We tried to mix it up and spread them
out, throw some passes. They covered those well and still put
pressure on the quarterback. I mean, give Taylorville a lot of
credit. They played extremely fast, hard and aggressive. I don't
feel like we did, at that level."
[to top of second column]
The Tornadoes seemed especially focused on shutting down
Lincoln's ground attack on offense. By succeeding in that way, they
were able to keep the Railers from compiling the long,
time-consuming drives that they had against Springfield and
Chatham-Glenwood in the previous two weeks.
Trailing by multiple scores in the second half, Lincoln was
forced to pass the ball more than they'd prefer. Taylorville was
able to defend against that strategy as well, picking off Railer
quarterback Austin Krusz for three interceptions in the game.
"We were trying to make some things happen and mix some things up
so we could get some big chunks of yardage. We weren't able to run
the ball against them," said McDonald of the costly turnovers. "They
made some great breaks on some balls, and maybe there was one that
shouldn't have been thrown.
"But I give Taylorville a lot of credit for the way they played
tonight. They came out with a mission and a passion to beat us. And
Lincoln finished with only 86 yards of total offense after
penalties. The Railers had 20 rushing yards on 22 attempts, and 81
yards passing. Lincoln was led in rushing by Conner Schmidt with 22
yards on four attempts, while Heidbreder had 14 yards on seven
Krusz finished 5 for 10 for 81 yards. Schmidt led Lincoln with 34
yards receiving on two catches, while receivers Wes White and Dane
Eimer each had one catch for 20 yards.
Lincoln returns home to Handlin Field next weekend to host Sacred
[By JUSTIN TIERNEY]
Justin Tierney's Railer football reports