On The Border
LINCOLN FACES OFF WESTVILLE, OKLA. FRIDAY
LINCOLN – A unique twist to the gridiron border rivalry between Lincoln and Westville, Okla., this year has coaches on both sides looking for their first win in the series.
Former Westville head coach Darin Kapella compiled a 20-22 record from 2013-2016 before leaving. In his place is former Lincoln offensive coordinator Tyler Dorton with his first head coaching job.
According to the Westville Yellowjacket Football, and Westville Football History Book Facebook page, Dorton becomes the 31st head football coach in Westville school history and tries to become the first Yellowjacket head football coach to begin his tenure with a win since Jeff Collyge did so in 1989. Cody Forga, who coached Lincoln’s offensive line last season, has joined Dorton on the Yellowjacket staff.
Meanwhile, Lincoln head coach Don Harrison is still seeking his first win in the series. Since taking over at Lincoln in 2015, Harrison has not won against Westville. Kapella-coached teams won games in 2015 (49-19), and 2016 (42-7).
Last year Westville, Okla., pulverized Lincoln on the ground, amassing 400 yards rushing in handing the Wolves a 42-7 loss at Wolfpack Stadium. Five Yellowjacket seniors, since graduated, accounted for half of that total; but Lincoln has to be concerned with Westville’s Dagan Hembree, a 5-feet-8, 160-pound speedster, who burned the Wolves for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns on 11 carries including a 75-yard run. Hembree is now a senior and a focal point of Westville’s offense with most of their other starting skill players graduated, including their kicker. In 2016, the Yellowjackets threw the ball 11 times with 6 completions for 50 yards. Lincoln had one interception.
The Wolves counter with returning big-play receiver, Braden Umberson, whose 2016 numbers showcase 45 pass receptions for 702 yards, an average gain of 15.6-yardsper-catch and 6 touchdowns with a long play of 52 yards. Throwing the football to him will be two-year starter at tailback junior Caleb Lloyd (154 rushes, 566 yards, 3.7-yards-per-carry, 4 touchdowns), who slides over to quarterback for 2017.
In 2016, Hembree had an interception against Lincoln on defense, which he returned for 6 yards. That is another area the Wolves must be careful in and not allow Hembree to runback picks.
Lincoln’s last win in the series was in 2013. The Wolves, coached by Brad Harris, now head coach at Benton, won big, 45-6, at Westville to begin a school-record 11-win season including their first-ever playoff victories at home (27-13) against Nashville; and on the road (41-21) at Malvern.
For the second-straight year, Westville has one game under their belt before the kick-off against Lincoln. The Yellowjackets lost 54-13 to Stigler Aug. 25. According to Brendal Rector, who operates the Westville Yellowjacket Football, and Westville Football History Book, Westville hasn’t beaten Stigler since 1954 and their last road win in that series was 1949.
Rector has compiled a history of the border rivalry series. According to Rector, Lincoln and Westville have played 27 times since 1952. Westville holds an all-time lead in the series with 19 wins compared to 7 for Lincoln with one nonconference tie. The Yellowjackets have won 70 percent of the games in the series.
The series will continue until at least 2019. The average score has been Westville 21, Lincoln 11. Ironically, Westville has lost more games at home in the series. The Yellowjackets hold a 9-5 series lead at Atkin-Langley Field and a 10-2-1 edge in games played at Lincoln. The Wolves have played better defense on the road, allowing 19.5-points-pergame at Westville and 21.6 points by the Yellowjackets in games at Lincoln. The Wolves have scored an average of 13.2 points-per-game in road games at Westville compared to 8.8-points-percontest at home versus the Yellowjackets.
Two men, who once stood side by side, now find themselves separated by the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. Tyler Dorton (left), who served as Lincoln’s offensive coordinator the last two years, is now head football coach at Westville, Okla. Dorton leads the Yellowjackets against his mentor, Lincoln head coach Don Harrison (right), in the annual border rivalry Friday. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Westville’s Atkin-Langley Field.