Wolves Face Yellowjackets
LINCOLN — A new dynamic to the gridiron border rivalry billed as the “State Line Standoff” between Lincoln and Westville, Okla., this year sends a trophy home with the winning team.
Lincoln head football coach Don Harrison achieves a unique distinction in the annals of senior high Wolves’ football with the establishment of a border rivalry trophy that will go to the winner of Friday’s gridiron contest between Lincoln and Westville, Okla.
This season new Westville head coach Ed Baker will attempt to open his career with a road win. According to Brendal Rector, who operates the Westville Yellowjacket Football, and Westville Football History Book Facebook page; the last Westville, Okla. football coach to open his career with a road win was James Wheeler, who in 1949 led the Yellowjackets to a 7-0 victory over Bentonville.
Former Lincoln offensive coordinator Tyler Dorton, who took Westville’s head coaching job in May of 2017, left the Yellowjackets a year later. According to Harrison, Dorton is now offensive coordinator at Ada, Okla.
In June, Westville hired Baker as the 32nd head coach in school history. Baker comes to Westville from Perryville. The Yellowjackets went 1-9 last season and were outscored by almost 35 points-per-game (133-481). Enter Baker, who led Perryville into Arkansas’ 3A playoffs last season with a 7-4 record. No Yellowjacket head football coach has begun his tenure with a win since Jeff Collyge in 1989.
Harrison got his first win in the series last season at Westville (18-7) after suffering losses of 49-19 in 2015, and 42-7 in 2016. On Sept. 2, 2011, Westville area native Cheyenne Vaughn quarterbacked Lincoln to a 42-12 win on his way to a second consecutive All-State season and Lincoln’s second playoff berth in school history with a 7-4 record. That was the Wolves’ last season competing as a 3A football team. Vaughn and the Wolves lost 42-13 to Westville on Sept. 3, 2010.
Should the Yellowjackets win five games in 2018, they will reach 400 wins in school history. Westville has never won more than 9 games in a single season. The Yellowjackets achieved that three times, according to Rector, in 1930, 1932, and 1986.
Lincoln’s best season to date manifested in 2013 featuring the school’s first-ever playoff victories at home Nov. 15, 2013 by defeating Nashville (27-13); followed by a road win Nov. 22, 2013 at Malvern (41-21). The Wolves finished 11-3 with a 6-1 conference record in the 4A-1.
Vype Football Preview pre-season poll for Oklahoma District 2A-5 ranks Westville sixth, behind: Holland Hall, Vian, Spiro, Tahlequah Sequoyah, and Keys, which Lincoln visits Sept. 6; followed by Pocola, and Panama. Hootens’ Football Magazine ranks Lincoln fifth in the 4A-1 behind: Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge, Shiloh Christian, and Gravette; and ahead of Berryville, Gentry and Green Forest.
Lincoln and Westville have played 28 times since 1952. Westville holds an all-time lead in the series with 19 wins compared to 8 for Lincoln with one nonconference tie. The Yellowjackets hold a 9-6 series lead at Atkin-Langley Field and a 10-2-1 edge in games played at Lincoln.
Lincoln senior quarterback Caleb Lloyd (6-0, 225) leads six returning starters for the Wolves’ offensive unit. Lloyd started at tailback on varsity as a freshman and sophomore, then became Lincoln’s starting quarterback last season, a role he will reprise this year, which opens opportunities for other athletes to play tailback.