Railers ride high-powered offense to 48-12 homecoming victory over
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[September 16, 2023]
LCHS football team racked up 448 yards in offense while keeping its
opponents in check most of the night as the Railers won their
homecoming game against Peoria Manual 48-12.
Lincoln took a lead in the first quarter when Ki’on Carson scored on
a 19-yard touchdown run. Angel Haro hit the extra point to give
Lincoln a 7-0 advantage.
The teams traded possessions for much of the remainder of the first
half, with neither team able to establish much offensively. Lincoln
head coach Matt Silkowski wasn’t completely surprised at his team’s
sluggish first half in its game during homecoming week.
“That week, there’s always so much going on,” Silkowski said. “But
every school in the country goes through that, so we’ve just got to
be better; when it’s time to play, we’ve got to come out ready to
The Railers appeared to give themselves some breathing room when
Ki’on Carson scored his second touchdown of the first half on a
1-yard run to put Lincoln up 14-0 with 1:27 remaining before
halftime. However, the Rams ran the ball back 99 yards on the
ensuing kickoff to make the score 14-6.
“It was a killer,” Silkowski said of the touchdown return by the
Rams. “We just didn’t stay in our lanes. We had an opportunity to
get him on the ground, but we didn’t really use good technique to
Following Manual’s touchdown, Lincoln returned the kickoff to its
own 45-yard line. Railer quarterback Darren Stevens then connected
with Kani Carson on a 42 yard pass play to move the ball into Manual
territory. After Stevens ran for 10 yards followed by an offsides
penalty on Manual, Ki’on Carson took the ball in from 2 yards out
for his third touchdown on the night. Haro kicked the PAT to give
Lincoln a 21-6 halftime advantage.
“I think we kind of struggled in the first half,” Silkowski said.
“We had trouble finding our mojo and overcoming penalties. But late
in the half, we started getting some things rolling and then really
got things rolling in the third quarter.”
The Railers were never challenged in the second half, as Lincoln
added four more touchdowns. Paytan Bunner notched the first Railer
score of the second half on a 6-yard touchdown run. More impressive
was his 16-yard jaunt to the endzone in the final quarter in which
he appeared to be initially stopped before carrying several Manual
defenders into the endzone for the score.
“That’s not all me,” Bunner said. “I give that to Joe Dahmm. I got
hit after like 7 yards, but he gets on my butt and he’s pushing me
the rest of the way. I was still pushing through, but Joe Dahmm was
pushing me all the way there.”
Also a starting linebacker for Lincoln, Bunner didn’t hesitate when
asked which was more satisfying: scoring a touchdown or making a big
tackle on defense.
“I love touchdowns, but Silky [Coach Silkowski] doesn’t give me the
ball…ever,” Bunner playfully said within earshot of Lincoln’s coach.
“Then, the one day I get it…I love it. I had the game of my life
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The Railers also got touchdowns from Stevens on a 1-yard quarterback
keeper and a 30-yard score from the other half of the C&C Touchdown
Factory, Kani Carson.
While Ki’on Carson finished as the Railers’ leading rusher with 120
yards and three touchdowns, Lincoln made a concerted effort to
involve more players in the offense, especially during the second
“We just kind of wanted to get those guys going and make sure that
they knew they were appreciated,” Silkowski said. “We tell them all
the time, ‘Hey, they can’t just focus on one guy, it’s going to open
the other guys up.’ And what they were giving us on the inside run
with our fullbacks with Paytan [Bunner] and Colbie [Glenn], we were
just going to keep running that until they stopped it; fortunately
for us, we were able to just keep that rolling.”
Quarterback Stevens had an efficient night, connecting on five of 10
passes for 82 yards and no turnovers. He also ran for 45 yards on
seven carries and scored a touchdown. For the year, the returning
starter has completed 17 of 45 passes for 270 yards.
Stevens said he feels tonight will be a stepping stone toward an
improved performance the rest of the season.
“In the beginning of the season, I didn’t really play as well as I
should be,” Stevens said. “But in this game, I really feel I showed
what I can do. It just kind of ‘switched on’ for me; I knew I had to
be a better player. I want to be the best I can be for this team and
try to be a leader.”
“I feel like I, personally, after this game, am going to get better
and better each week and hopefully I can lead this team to some good
In the bigger picture, the win moves Lincoln to 3-1 on the season as
the team looks to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since
“We’ve never been 3-1,” Silkowski said. “We’ve gone 2-0 a couple
times and then dropped a couple in a row. To get back on track
tonight was really big towards our ultimate goal; we had to win
tonight if we are going to achieve the ultimate goal. So it was a
The Railers travel to Springfield Southeast for an important Central
State 8 matchup Friday, September 23 at 7 PM.