See You Later, Cicada
A cicada bug landed on Keys, Okla. head football coach Mitchell Crittenden Thursday night during a junior high game at Lincoln’s Wolfpack Stadium.
He left the insect on his sleeve for good luck, finally brushing it off as he walked off the field following the junior high game although some of his players suggested he keep it.
“I’m not taking that thing with me,” Crittenden said, while noting, “It’ll be tougher tomorrow,” referring to Friday when Keys hosted Lincoln in nonconference varsity action.
Crittenden was impressed with what he had seen of the Lincoln varsity on film and in scouting reports.
“They’re scary, they do a lot of things,” Crittenden said, describing the Wolves’ run-pass option offense that clicks off play-after-play seeking to establish a rhythm and keep a defense on its heels trying to adjust and account for everything Lincoln has going.
His worst fears were realized Friday. Lincoln exploded for 26 points in the second quarter building a 40-0 third quarter lead as Wolves’ coach Don Harrison secured his first varsity victory over Keys, Okla., since the series began in 2014, with a 40-7 triumph.
“Christian Sellers, whose filling in for (injured senior tailback) Cam Brown (out two to three more weeks), he opened the game with a 50-yard run,” Harrison said. “Last season we’d get down by two touchdowns before we’d get going. We’ve been harping on them all off-season long about starting fast and they did.”
Lincoln’s first touchdown was set up by Sellers, who took a handoff from quarterback Caleb Lloyd near the Wolves’ 19. Bidding, “see you later,” to the Cougars’ defensive front, Sellers ran the sweep right, turned the corner and wasn’t caught until the Cougar senior Kaden Gower, who had an angle, managed to knock him out-of-bounds at Keys’ 31.
“He had a huge hole,” Harrison said. “He did a really good job of being patient and waiting for the hole to develop, then exploding into it. Our offensive line blocked really well. It was a heckuva way to start the game. Noah Moore, our starting center, he climbed up to the linebacker and blocked him in the middle of the field sending him about 15 yards downfield.”
Bradley Drain capped off the 7-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Lincoln, which outgained Keys 331 to 155 in total offense, led 7-0 after the first quarter.
“I’m really proud of the way both our offensive and defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage,” Harrison said. “They (Keys, Okla.) had some big ol’ boys. They were way bigger than our boys, but they couldn’t get a push on us on defense. Our scout team gave them a good look in practice, showing them exactly what they were going to run. Offensive line blocked well. Caleb didn’t come close to getting sacked. Our receivers were seven yards off the line of scrimmage before their defensive line would even get up.”
The second quarter surge started
with Lloyd’s 20-yard pass to sophomore tight end Levi Wright inside the Keys 10. On second and goal from the six, Lloyd ran a play-action faking a handoff while Wright floated open in the end zone where Lloyd found him for Lincoln’s second touchdown.
“The boys were like, ‘hey, if we do this, they’re going to jump,’” Harrison said. “We listened to them. Sometimes, you got to listen to the boys.”
With the Wolves leading 14-0 a shotgun snap went over the head of the Keys’ quarterback on first down from the 28. Lincoln’s Hunter Phelan led the defensive charge, but he overshot a diving attempt to pounce on it. Christian Crittenden appeared to recover the fumble in end zone for a defensive touchdown as the game started to snowball.
“We thought it was a touchdown, but they marked it at the one,” Harrison said.
Crittenden (5-9, 225), who transfered from Rowland, Okla., ran the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown.
Lincoln struck twice more before halftime with Sterling Morphis reeling in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Lloyd. Running stride-for-stride with a defender, Morphis made the catch and ran unhindered the final 15 yards as the defensive back fell. Wright added a 2-yard touchdown reception from Lloyd in the final minute of the half to give Lincoln a commanding 33-0 lead at intermission.
“It was one of those things we thought we caught them in something good,” Harrison said. “They boys were telling us something was there and it was.”
In the third quarter Lincoln scored on Crittenden’s 2-yard rush up the middle to stretch its advantage to 40-0. Keys avoided a shutout when Levi Troyer caught a touchdown pass from Lane Taylor as the third wore down.
“Our defense did really good,” Harrison said. “It’s two weeks in a row we haven’t allowed a touchdown with our starting defense. The boys are playing hard, doing what we ask them to do. We just got to keep getting better.”
The 2-0 start is Lincoln’s best since 2013. Next up the Wolves travel to Subiaco Academy (1-1). The Trojans beat Lavaca, 20-12, in their season-opener, but lost 34-12 to Lamar last week. This season the Trojans haven’t run the ball well. They have gained 251 yards on 76 attemps for a 3.3 average. Subiaco completed 6-of-11 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown against Lamar after a 3-for-9 showing and 37 yards against Lavaca. MARK HUMPHREY IS A SPORTS REPORTER FOR THE ENTERPRISELEADER.