Turf’s Up At Lincoln
WOLFPACK CELEBRATES UPGRADED PLAYING SURFACE
LINCOLN — Those who found their party on the beach wrecked by forces of nature and seeking a new home or new high school might find Lincoln appealing.
Turf’s up at Lincoln in northwest Arkansas about 700 miles inland from Port Aransas near Corpus Christi, Texas, where the eye of Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 25. Lincoln lies approximately 543 miles north and slightly east of Houston, another city hammered by Harvey. Football players accustomed to playing on artificial turf and cheerleaders used to dancing on the surface before they were uprooted by the hurricane’s devastation might find the laid-back atmosphere of Lincoln soothing after their hectic experiences.
This has happened before among 4A-1 teams situated along U.S. 62. Former Prairie Grove All-State linebacker Brandon Nodier was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and became a force in the league.
Maybe now Lincoln takes their turn playing host to a displaced family. In this season of the “Unprecedented,” things out of the ordinary can and will happen, especially when preparations are made to accommodate the opportunity.
That is exactly what Lincoln has been doing. The installation of artificial turf at Wolfpack Stadium is complete.
Playing their first game on newly-installed artificial turf, Lincoln’s spread offense was severely handicapped by injuries to its quarterbacking corps in a 34-16 loss to Keys, Okla., (2-0) Friday.
Starter Caleb Lloyd suffered an injury on his throwing hand early and backup quarterback Sterling Morphis injured his hand on the field with the Wolves’ defense.
“We ran into a problem when Caleb hurt his hand in the first quarter. Our backup quarterback hurt his hand playing defense. We had nobody who could throw it,” said Lincoln coach Don Harrison.
Keys led 22-0 at halftime. The only consolation for Wolves fans was a halftime dedication ceremony to celebrate the new turf.
Despite the injury Lloyd played linebacker in the second half and Lincoln (1-1) looked poised to hold after stuffing a pair of runs, but on third-and-17 Alden Terrell ran for 31 yards. Terrell capped a six play, 71-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run to push Keys’ lead out to 28-0.
Playing hurt, Lloyd grittily engineered an 83-yard scoring march for Lincoln. He converted a third down with a 10-yard rush and completed a deep pass to Lyndon Miller for 48 yards. The Cougars were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on Jacob Anderson’s run moving the ball to the five. From there, Lloyd hit Braden Umberson with a touchdown pass to score the Wolves’ first touchdown on their new turf. Umberson ran in the 2-point conversion.
Keys held the ball for nearly five minutes before losing possession on downs partly due to Zach Duncan’s sack. Lloyd was determined to keep playing as long as he could and again guided the Wolves on a long scoring drive of 78 yards. He found Anderson for 15 yards on second-and-16 and later in the drive hooked up with Cam Brown for 14 yards on fourth-and-10. Umberson’s 15-yard gain put Lincoln in the red zone, but they wound up in fourth-and-17 from the 27. Umberson wrestled the ball away from a defensive back and was brought down at the one. He ran the ball in on the next play for his second touchdown. Hunter Phelan caught Lloyd’s pass for the 2-point conversion.
Lincoln was within 28-16 with 10:32 to go in the fourth, but eventually pain in Lloyd’s throwing hand caught up to them. Keys senior Brayden Patrick picked off an under-thrown pass and ran the ball back 38 yards for a defensive touchdown to seal the game for the Cougars at the 3:22 mark of the fourth.
Lincoln celebrates Homecoming next week against Mansfield. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Wolfpack Stadium.
Lincoln junior quarterback Caleb Lloyd is sacked by Brandon Garner of Keys, Okla. The Keys Cougars defeated Lincoln, 34-16, Friday. Lloyd injured his throwing hand in the first half. He came out and played hurt in the second half to lead Lincoln on two long scoring drives. Pain caused him to under-throw passes and he left the game in the fourth quarter.