Class 5a State Champions were everything Lincoln High School Coach
Andy McDonald expected. And more.
great team,” McDonald said after the Railers lost in a lopsided 67-6
game Friday. “We told the guys that to compete with teams like that
you have to put in an awful lot of work in the off season.”
dominant in every phase of the game, so much so the referees started
the running clock (the definitive sign of a blow-out) with more than
four minutes left in the first half.
said there are parts of the game he was happy with.
told the guys “We’re not going to gauge this game on the
scoreboard’,” the coach added. “It’s going to be our effort on every
It took until
the third quarter, when Lincoln was trailing 53-0, but that effort
finally turned into six points.
defensive back Zach Podunajec undercut a pass in front of the SHG
bench, and scampered to within feet of the goal line.
“They had one
guy coming out to the flat, and I saw him,” Podunajec recounted
after the game. “I saw we were rushing the quarterback. (The
receiver) kinda came out deep. The quarterback just lobbed it up
there, and I just went in and got it.”
later, senior running back Brent Metelko burst through the SHG line
and into the end zone.
said that was the kind of series the Railer coaches have been
“You keep your
head up, you keep playing, and good things can happen,” McDonald
by then, too many good things had happened for the Cyclones that
Lincoln was playing against the back-ups for the SHG back-ups.
are very intense,” Sacred Heart Griffin Head Coach Ken Leonard said
after his team’s latest victory. “We try to make (our players) make
mistakes so that we don’t (make them in the game).”
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SHG moves to
5-0 on the season, The Railsplitters fall to 0-5.
But the junior
Podunajec said the mighty green are not moping around, despite the
“We had fun
playing them. We’re not really hanging our heads,” Podunajec said.
“It was just fun to go out a play a state champion.”
McDonald, who has challenged his team this season to be more
physical, said you cannot hang you head in losing to a team that had
its only loss at the hands of another state champion. (The Rochester
Rockets handed SHG a loss last year, and then went on to win the 4a
so good,” McDonald acknowledged. “They’ve got some big, strong, fast
kids that fly to the ball defensively. And they are very efficient
Griffin’s Leonard echoed that thought. Leonard said Lincoln can hold
its head high, knowing that the Central State Eight is the toughest
football conference in all of Illinois.
“I don’t know
how many, if any, conferences had two state champs in one year,”
Leonard said of last year’s state titles at SHG and Rochester. “I
think this conference is really, really, really good. And,
unfortunately right now, Lincoln is down a little bit.”
The games do
not get any easier next week for either team.
SHG will host
Chatham Glenwood, and the Railers will travel to Rochester.