Lions stretch win­ning streak to 20

Lin­coln scores three touch­downs in game’s first nine min­utes against ri­vals

The Mercury News Weekend - - SPORTS - By Dar­ren Sabedra dsabedra@ba­yare­anews­group.com Con­tact Dar­ren Sabedra at 408-920- 5815.

SAN JOSE » Any chances for a San Jose up­set in the 75th Big Bone game against Lin­coln were gone mid­way through the first quar­ter Thurs­day.

The crowd was barely set­tled into the seats at Oak Grove High, and Lin­coln had al­ready found the end zone three times.

It didn’t get closer the rest of the way as the Lions cruised to a 49-14 vic­tory, run­ning their win­ning streak in the an­nual Thanks giv­ing Day game be­tween San Jose’s old­est pub­lic schools to 20.

“It’s a neat mile­stone to reach,” said coach Kevin Collins, who has been there for all 20. “The kids came ready to play. They were fired up to play.”

Both teams brought sub-. 500 records into the matchup, but the dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams was clear from the out­set.

Lin­coln needed 12 plays on its open­ing se­ries to score its first touch­down. It got runs of 22 yards by Isaac Juarez and 11 yards by quar­ter­back Gavin Kalama-Florence to set up a 3-yard scor­ing run by Gabe Florez.

A bad snap on a punt at­tempt handed Lin­coln the ball on the San Jose 13 to start the Lions’ next se­ries. Two plays later, Juarez scored from the 7 to make it 14- 0 mid­way through the open­ing quar­ter.

The lead widened to three touch­downs af­ter San Jose failed to con­vert a first down from deep in its own end.

A 16-yard pass from Kalama-Florence to Ale­jan­dro Martinez-Lo­era moved Lin­coln to the 10. On the next play, Kalama-Florence scam­pered across the goal line for a 21- 0 lead, that touch­down com­ing with 3:38 left in the first quar­ter.

Lin­coln (4-7) went 69 yards for its fourth touch­down, a se­ries slowed by bub­bling emo­tions on both sides. Adam Are­nas, ev­ery bit as small as his 5-foot3, 130-pound list­ing on the ros­ter, weaved through a pack of big guys from 10 yards out for the score.

The game al­ready well in hand, Lin­coln added a fifth touch­down af­ter tak­ing over at its 19 in the fi­nal minute of the first half.

Collins calls his team the anti-spread be­cause he usu­ally keeps the ball on the ground, but Kalama-Florence com­pletely took charge in the two-minute drill.

He con­nected with Juarez for 20 yards on the first play. Later, he scram­bled for 20 yards to the San Jose 34. Then, af­ter two in­com­plete passes, he found day­light around the left side and cruised into the end zone, the 34-yard run stretch­ing the lead to 35- 0 with one sec­ond left in the first half.

On a day Lin­coln rushed for 267 yards, Kalama-Florence led the way with 87 and two touch­downs.

“It was very nerve-rack­ing at first,” the se­nior said. “But af­ter the first play, I was good to go.”

San Jose (2-9) had its best se­ries of the game to start the sec­ond half. The Bull­dogs moved 79 yards in 13 plays, an 11-yard run by quar­ter­back Ky­lan Har­ris ac­count­ing for the touch­down.

Har­ris, in his last high school game, added a sec­ond touch­down on an­other 11-yard run early in the fourth quar­ter.

“I was just try­ing to put some points on the board, try­ing to help my team come to­gether,” said the se­nior, who rushed for 101 yards and threw for 48. “We didn’t get the win, but it’s all good, though.”

San Jose was com­pet­i­tive against its ri­val in 2014 and 2015, los­ing an over­time heart-breaker three years ago and by just 7- 0 the fol­low­ing sea­son. But the past two games have not been close.

Collins took a trip down me­mory lane af­ter the lat­est vic­tory. The long­time Lin­coln coach noted that the last San Jose coach to beat Lin­coln, Brad Syth, was in at­ten­dance.

“We won the first one, then lost the next two; we won the next one and you can put this in: Mark Krail was our de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor the last time we lost,” Collins said, a tongue in cheek ref­er­ence to his friend and cur­rent Los Gatos head coach. “He al­ways gives him­self a bad time about that.”

There were no bad times on the Lin­coln side Thurs­day. The large crowd that gath­ered heard a fa­mil­iar chant by the Lions play­ers af­ter the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion:

“The Bone stays home! The Bone stays home!”

JUSTIN RI­LEY — SPE­CIAL TO BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

Lin­coln run­ning back Isaac Juarez runs with the ball in the first half of the 75th Big Bone game Thurs­day.

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