Whether it’s Thanksgiving with the bird and the
ballgames, or the seemingly endless stream of pork chop sandwiches
that flow from the concession stand at Handlin Field Friday nights.
Football and food are linked.
And for the Lincoln High School Railsplitters
that link is Thursday night.
Each week, the evening before game day is
spent at long tables at the Immanuel Lutheran Church eating,
talking, and relaxing.
“Thursday nights, we just come together,”
senior defensive lineman Eric Sutton said. “We have a great dinner,
(some) great fellowship, and have a great conversation.”
Crowded into the back of the room a ping pong
table and a handful of ramshackle couches where the Railers relax
after a long week of practice.
“We all just get together (to) stop worrying
about other things outside of football,” Sutton added.
Thursday’s menu was turkey tetrazzini.
Railer football booster mom Tish Podunajec,
who has helped cook and serve at the Thursday night meals for three
years, says fried chicken and pork loin are usually the most popular
“I think it brings them closer together as a
team,” Podunajec said between getting pasta into the oven and drinks
onto the table. “They seem to look forward to it. It’s a good time
Railer Coach Andy McDonald said the team is
built as much over a plate of chicken or pasta as on the practice
field or in the weight room.
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“The big purpose of it, besides having a good
meal before the game, is just the fellowship of the team,” McDonald
said. “(The meals allow) players to get to know how the guy sitting
next to them is motivated.”
In some weeks, McDonald and the booster club
bring in motivational speakers. The guests have include3d everyone
from former Railer football players to the Handlin family.
Lincoln will need a belly full of tetrazzini
(and maybe a bit more) on Friday. The Railers will host the Sacred
Heart Griffin Cyclones.
SHG is 4-0 on the season, and is the defending
Class 5a state champion.
“This is a big challenge,” McDonald said of
facing SHG. “How will we compete against what is typically…the best
team in the state.”
The Railers are still looking for their first
victory of 2014.
Lincoln will host Sacred Heart Griffin at 7 pm
Friday night at Handlin Field.
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