Homecoming 2016: Expectations And Excitement
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[September 23, 2016]
By Benjamin Yount
LINCOLN – There was something different
about the Lincoln Railsplitters after Thursday's football practice.
The team took a knee to get their usual pre-game pep talk. The
Splitters ate the same meal they've eaten for years. The varsity
players emitted the same funk you'd expect from three dozen sweaty
teenagers who haven't washed their uniforms in four weeks.
But for the first time all season the team was excited. Not nervous.
Not anxious. Excited.
“This is definitely a winnable game,” senior quarterback Andrew
“It would mean a lot. To break the losing streak we've had,” senior
defensive end Zach Montcalm added. “This is our best chance to get a
After back to back games against the best teams in downstate
Illinois. (Sacred Heart Griffin is ranked number 1 in 6A, and
Rochester is ranked 2nd in 4A.) Lincoln is taking on another winless
The Railers host Decatur MacArthur Friday night.
“We've played the four toughest teams on our schedule,” Lincoln
coach Matt Silkowski said Thursday. “We're telling our guys to learn
from what it was like in those first four games.”
Lincoln didn't win any of its first four games. But did improve.
The defense is light years better than last year.
Montcalm said they are going to have to continue that this week if
the Railers are going to get their first win.
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“MacArthur's quarterback wants to run the ball. He wants to get
outside,” Montcalm said. “We're going to have to make sure we seal
the outside. We can't let him get by.”
Silkowski said Lincoln will have to contain MacArthur's athletes on
defense, and unleash their own athletes on offense.
“We're going to a lot more on offense that people have seen from
us,” Silkowski said without offering any details.
Yount, the quarterback, said the game plan for MacArthur is to get
the ball to the Railer playmakers, including Titus Cannon and Isiah
“The offense is going to be a lot different,” Yount said the new
game plan will be 'high caliber.'
But the success depends in Lincoln's offensive line.
Senior center Jacob Berglin is back, and Silkowski said if Lincoln
can move the ball the team can come away with a win.
“A win would be big for everone. For the kids this year. For the
program looking ahead,” Silkowski said.
Yount said a win would also be huge for Lincoln as a community.
“Right now we're 0-32,” Yount noted. Lincoln's varsity team has won
a game since 2012. “To break a 32 game losing streak would be
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Handlin Field.