On The Bor­der


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

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.

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