Friday, October 19, 2012
Sports News

Railers take on Olympia on Senior Night, season finale

By Justin Tierney

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[October 19, 2012]  All teams' seasons must end, one way or another.

Yet, no matter what kind of season a team has, the end always comes too soon.

Tonight marks that too-soon moment for the Lincoln Railer football team.

Lincoln takes on Olympia in their season finale at Handlin Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

For Railer coach Andy McDonald and his players, the season went by too fast.

"Once we start the games, it just flies by," said McDonald. "There's so much time and hours of preparation. It's conditioning, the weight room, all that. You get so excited for the season to start. And then -- boom, it's gone. It's hard to believe we're at this point right now."

The night will have added emotion, as it will be the final game in a Railer uniform for Lincoln's seniors.

It's a group that will hold a special place in McDonald's heart as a group that persevered through a challenge of playing with only roughly 30 players on the varsity roster each week.

"They are a very special group, because they've shown such great leadership and pride in our team, our program," said McDonald. "Being a small group, they've taken the bull by the horns. They've known those guys are going to be on the field most of the game.

"I've been really proud of their leadership and the positive attitude that they've shown, week after week. We've had no discipline problems all year. I give credit for that to those guys. It's their leadership."

McDonald has elected not to talk much about the finality of the game this week in practice, in an attempt to keep his team focused.

"We've talked about being focused, about going out, doing our jobs. We've tried to talk to them the way we have all year," said McDonald. "I think they realize, the seniors especially, that it's going to be an emotional time. It's a big game they're going to remember for a long time. We want them to have great memories of Lincoln football, and part of that is finishing the season strong."

Opponent Olympia mirrors Railers

McDonald said what he's seen of Olympia tells him that there are some similarities between the two programs.

Both schools prefer to run the ball, behind physical offensive lines.

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"I expect that we'll match up with them athletically," said McDonald. "I think we're pretty similar. They've shown on the film we've watched that they like to run the ball and be physical upfront. We have to come out and be ready, physical and ready to stop the run."

Olympia enters the game with a record of 1-7. Lincoln enters with a 2-6 record.

With the exception of Rochester -- which is ranked No. 1 in this week's Illinois Associated Press Class 4A poll -- the matchup versus Olympia marks the only time all season that the Railers have had a higher enrollment than their opponent. Olympia's enrollment is 569, compared with Lincoln at 841.

The last supper

This week doesn't only mark the final football game, but also the final Thursday evening meal that the team enjoys.

Every week, the Lincoln Railer football boosters cook a meal for the team at Immanuel Lutheran Church, which is adjacent to the LCHS parking lot. McDonald also has brought in a motivational speaker each week.

McDonald expressed his appreciation for the weekly volunteer effort to feed his players.

"It's been tremendous. Our booster club does so much for it," said McDonald. "We need more people involved in the booster club, so it's not the same people always doing it. We're so thankful for them taking time out of their own evenings to support these kids.

"We've brought in some speakers some this year. It's good to eat, have some fellowship and fun, and get a good message from speaker. And we can always count on a good meal."


Justin Tierney's Railer football reports


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