Senior Night For Railers
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[October 15, 2016]
By Benjamin Yount, pictures by Sherri Sparrow
LINCOLN – High school football players
are a tough lot.
They scoff at cuts. They laugh at bruises. They brag about the
damage they can take.
But every year, at the last home game of the season, the toughest
young men at Lincoln Community High School get a little red around
the eyes. The tears start to well up. The emotions start to break
Friday night was no different.
Lincoln's senior football players, the Class of 2017, scored two
touchdowns but fell to Springfield's Southeast High School 54-13.
The Railspliiters started flat.
Lincoln fumbled on their first snap of the game, Southeast scooped
it up and scored.
That's when some of Lincoln's seniors said it hit them: This is the
beginning of the end.
“When they scored those first points. That set me on edge,” senior
Mario Murphy said Friday night. “The mood changed when they got that
But for some Railsplitters the realization that this was their last
time through the tunnel at Handlin Field, in front of the home
crowd, started much earlier.
“Waking up this morning. I knew it was going to be a slow day,”
senior Scott Lessen said. “I knew it was all over.”
Senior Noah Morgan said he knew the end was coming earlier in the
week. He wasn't able to play the final home game.
Senior Austin Newton said he knew this week was off. He said none of
the Railer defenders had “the right kind of mojo.”
Lincoln fell behind early in Friday's game against Southeast.
But the team rallied in the second and third quarters to put two
touchdowns on the board.
Senior Nathan Podunajec scampered off-tackle for a touchdown run in
the third quarter.
“Coach said 'Look inside,' but there was nothing in the middle. They
closed it off,” Podunajec said Friday. “I took it outside. It was
wide open. I was hoping to get a break and run it for a touchdown.
That was one of my goals.”
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Because Lincoln won just one game, the Railers played for pride most
of the year.
That pride was evident Friday night.
“This morning when I put on my jersey before I went to school. I
realized that's my last home game,” senior fullback Trent Whitham
“Once we came out of the game, that's when it set in,” senior center
Jacob Berglin said. “On the sideline we had time to think.”
Senior Quentin Bone said he looked in the mirror before Friday's
game and realized his four years as a Railer football player were
“I put on my pads,. I tied up my laces. I realized I'd never do this
again,” Bone said. “After this year I'm done.”
Lincoln fought on Friday night. The running game ground out yards.
Senior Quarterback Andrew Yount tossed a nearly 40-yard completion
to Alex Linares in the second quarter that lead to the Railers'
first score of the game.
“The safety vacated,” Yount said. “I juked-out the defensive end. I
saw Alex (Linares) downfield, and put it up.”
Yount teared up as he talked about the last home game for his senior
“We are brothers,” Yount said as he fought off a whimper. “We're not
just teammates. We are brothers.”
Lincoln fell to 1-7 on the year. Southeast jumped to 3-5.
The Railsplitters close out the season next week against Chatham
Glenwood in Chatham.
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