Sunday, September 08, 2013
Sports News

Strong 1st half for the Railers but out of gas in 2nd half

By Scott Kirby

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[September 08, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- After coming off a tough matchup in Week 1 against the No. 2-ranked Jacksonville Crimsons, the Lincoln Railers were confident they could bounce back against a struggling Springfield Lanphier team. Lanphier didn't win a game last year and lost to Lincoln 22-14 on Aug. 31, 2012. The Lanphier Lions lost their opener a week ago to the Springfield Senators by the score of 44-12. With both teams entering Friday night's contest 0-1, they had something to prove, and both teams wanted to get in the win column.     (Click on picture for larger image.)

Lincoln won the toss, and after receiving the kickoff for a minimal gain, the Railers would start their first possession on their own 28-yard line. On first and second down Lincoln didn't have much success, but then on third down Lincoln quarterback Austin Krusz threw a pass to senior wide receiver Wes White for a big first down. On the following play Krusz hooked up with White again for another long gain and another first down. White also did it on the ground with a big run to the left of the field for yet another first down. The Railers marched the ball 69 yards down the field and found themselves on the 3-yard line with just a couple of minutes gone by in the first quarter.

White was called on again, with Krusz handing the ball off to him for the first touchdown of the game, to the left side of the line. Grant Cooper would miss the extra-point attempt to make the score 6-0 in favor of the Lincoln Railers.

The Railers would then kick off to the Lions to give them their first possession of the game. On the kickoff, Will Cook made an excellent open-field tackle to save a kickoff return for a touchdown. The Railer defense was able to make a couple of good stops, but No. 44 Detric Mitchell, the big 6-foot-3, 258-pound running back for the Lions, was able to bust it up the middle for a touchdown to tie up the score. The extra-point attempt after was good to put Lanphier up 7-6.

Lincoln's second possession was much like their first. On first down Shawn Cannon had a big gain for a first down. Then Krusz hit White for another first down, followed by a pass to Keaton Letterle for a 6-yard gain. Brent Metelko was next, with a huge run up the middle for a first down. Krusz was spreading the ball all over the place, and next in line was junior wide receiver Will Cook. Krusz threw a pass to Cook for another first down and followed that up with a with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cook. Lincoln would then make the 2-point conversion as Krusz hooked up with White again to make the score 14-7 in favor of your Lincoln Railers.

After receiving the kickoff from the Railers, the Lanphier Lions would start on their own 35-yard line. On the first play of the Lions' second possession, quarterback Joel Thomas scrambled for a 65-yard touchdown run. The point after touchdown was good to tie the score at 14-14 with 2:58 to go in the first quarter.

On their next possession, Lincoln was forced to punt after a three-and-out. Then Lanphier fumbled the ball with 3.1 seconds left in the first to give the ball right back to Lincoln.

Chris Duong started the second quarter with a big run to the left side of the field, but Lincoln's drive stalled and the Railers were forced to punt. Not much going on for both teams in the second quarter, with the only score coming from No. 33 Reggie Dickerson of Lanphier with a 3-yard run up the middle with 38 seconds to go in the first half to make the score 21-14 in favor of the Lions.

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The second half started the same as the first with both teams able to move the ball up the field. The Lions came out of halftime with a game plan consisting of pounding the ball down the field with big ol' No. 44 Mitchell. Mitchell is a very hard runner and was hard to bring down. He put Lanphier up 28-14 with a 6-yard run up the middle.

Lincoln's first possession of the second half consisted of a 36-yard drive that was stalled due to a pass interference call on Lincoln and a false start that pushed Lincoln back. The Railers were able to regroup and put another drive together, ending in a touchdown pass from Krusz to Letterle with 6:40 to go in the third quarter. The 2-point conversion was good when Shawn Cannon was able to cross the goal line to make the score 28-22.

The Lions answered on their following possession. After a long completion the Lions had the ball on the 2-yard line. Dickerson pounded it up the middle to make the score 34-22.

After that you could say the wheels fell off the bus. The fourth quarter belonged to Lanphier. They scored four more times to Lincoln's one, which was a 57-yard run by White.

The final score was Lanphier Lions 60 and the Lincoln Railsplitters 28.

Despite the score, the Railers played a hard-fought game to the end. In the end the Railers just ran out of gas and had some untimely turnovers. They also didn't have an answer to the big running back Mitchell of the Lanphier Lions.

Austin Krusz was 13-23-147 passing with two touchdowns and one interception. Wes White was 8-116 rushing with two touchdowns. Will Cook was 5-71 with one touchdown.

The leading tacklers on defense for the Railers were Ethan Kunkel with seven solo tackles and six assists. Chris Doung had six solo tackles and two assists.

The Railers travel to Springfield next Friday to take on the Southeast Spartans, who earned their first victory of the year by defeating the Canton Little Giants 34-19. The kickoff is set for 7 p.m.


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