Wolves Gain Break­through Win

WOLVES GAIN BREAK­THROUGH WIN

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Mark Humphrey

LIN­COLN — Don Har­ri­son could have been preach­ing a Sun­day morn­ing ser­mon in­still­ing re­silience, his Wolves got the mes­sage over­com­ing a 28-point sec­ond quar­ter by Prairie Grove.

The 4A-1 reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale for both teams fea­tured ebb and flow with mo­men­tum shift­ing back and forth be­fore Lin­coln (8-2, 5-2 4A-1) emerged vic­to­ri­ous over Prairie Grove (5-5, 4-3 4A-1) for the first time in 20 games by a 59-48 score Fri­day. Lin­coln hadn’t won in the series since a 14-0 vic­tory in Novem­ber of 1994.

“The on­side kick was awe­some, the turnover early was big, and then we jumped out on top of them,” Har­ri­son said. “Then they come back and it’s bang, bang, bang; and we’re down one at half­time. I’ve said it a mil­lion times, ‘fo­cus on your specifics and not your cir­cum­stances.’”

Prairie Grove scored first on Gar­rett Hel­temes 2-yard run to take a 7-0 lead on Cade Walker’s P.A.T. kick mid­way through the first quar­ter.

Lin­coln then reeled off 20 straight points much as they done after spot­ting Gen­try a 7-0 lead a week prior. In a 3:12 span, Lin­coln put three touch­downs on the board. Se­nior quar­ter­back Caleb Lloyd’s 11-yard touch­down run cou­pled with Noe Avel­laneda’s kick started the Wolf surge fu­eled by a Prairie Grove turnover lead­ing to Cam Brown’s 2-yard touch­down run and a suc­cess­ful on­side kick re­cov­ery which set up Lloyd’s 31-yard touch­down pass to se­nior re­ceiver Ster­ling Mor­phis.

Prairie Grove ral­lied with a roar scor­ing 28 points in 4:49. James Mill­wood’s tackle forced a Lin­coln turnover on downs. The Tigers drove for a score with quar­ter­back Ethan Guen­ther sneak­ing in from the one. Walker’s boot drew

Tigers within, 21-20, at the

5:25 mark of the sec­ond pe­riod.

Lin­coln fum­bled away the en­su­ing kick­off. On the next play from scrimmage, Cade Grant broke a 46-yard touch­down run by get­ting out­side on a sweep. With Walker’s P.A.T. tacked on the Tigers led, 21-20. Penal­ties put Lin­coln in a punt­ing sit­u­a­tion and Prairie Grove blocked the kick. Hel­temes scooped up the ball re­turn­ing it to Lin­coln’s one. Guen­ther crashed in for his sec­ond rush­ing touch­down of the pe­riod and Prairie Grove led 28-20.

Lin­coln then got its of­fense on track mov­ing 69 yards in 6 plays scor­ing on Lloyd’s 27-yard touch­down pass to Mor­phis. Lloyd ran in a 2-point con­ver­sion to tie the game.

Prairie Grove’s next drive mir­rored Lin­coln’s. The Tigers marched 64 yards in 5 plays capped by Guen­ther’s 37-yard touch­down pass to Jake Wat­son with Walker’s kick giv­ing Prairie Grove a 35-28 lead. Only 36.7 sec­onds were left be­fore half­time, which was more than enough time for Lloyd and the Wolves’ of­fense. Lin­coln cov­ered 67 yards in three plays high­lighted by Brown tak­ing a shovel pass from Lloyd and sprint­ing 16 yards for a touch­down with the clock down to 14.9 sec­onds. The point-after kick was blocked and Prairie Grove held a 35-34 half­time lead.

“It was a dog­fight, a great game for fans,” said Prairie Grove Danny Ab­shier. “At one point it was like who could make the most mis­takes. Both sides (had) lots of mis­takes, both sides had some great plays, re­ally couldn’t stop the other one. They just had a lit­tle more gas than we did.”

The third quar­ter was a show­case of Lin­coln of­fen­sive prow­ess. Lloyd com­pleted 6-of-11 passes for 106 yards with touch­down tosses of 35 and 13 yards to Mor­phis. Brown gained 77 yards on 7 car­ries, and Lloyd ran twice for 21 yards and a touch­down as the Wolves piled up 212 yards of of­fense in the third.

Lin­coln failed on all three con­ver­sion at­tempts while Prairie Grove banged out a nine-play, 68-yard drive, scor­ing on fourth down on Gar­rett Hel­temes 8-yard run. The kick failed and Lin­coln led 52-41 after three quar­ters of play.

“Our kids kept fo­cussing on what they needed to do, and be­fore you know it we were ahead,” Har­ri­son said. “And be­fore you know it, we’re ahead by 10 and 11. They just kept fight­ing. This team’s done an awe­some job. They’re 8-2 for a rea­son.”

The teams traded touch­downs in the fourth. Prairie Grove re­cov­ered an on­side kick cap­i­tal­iz­ing on a short field. Hel­temes pol­ished off the drive by step­ping out of tack­les on a 20-yard jaunt to the end zone. Walker’s kick drew the Tigers within, 52-48 with 9:54 show­ing.

Lin­coln matched that with Lloyd’s fourth down 8-yard scor­ing dash and Avel­laneda’s kick to re­gain an 11-point lead of 59-48. At that junc­ture the fourth quar­ter clock dis­played 6:08.

Mor­phis’ in­ter­cep­tion ended a promis­ing Prairie Grove drive, but he was tack­led at Lin­coln’s seven. The Wolves sought to run the clock out run­ning off eight plays with a key third-and­seven 27-yard pass play from Lloyd to Avel­laneda to get out of the shadow of their own end zone. On sec­ond-and-10, Har­ri­son in­serted backup tail­back, bat­ter­ing ram Chris­tian Crit­ten­den (5-10, 207), who car­ried twice for gains of 21 and 9 yards mov­ing the ball to Prairie Grove’s 33 and burn­ing the clock.

“The ‘Crit­ter,’ yeah, ‘the Crit­ter,’ Chris­tian Crit­ten­den is an amaz­ing young man,” Har­ri­son said. “He’s All-District for sure at line­backer, but I think he could be All-State (by) how awe­some he’s played all year long. He’s toughed it out, and he gets in there at times and he car­ries the ball be­tween the tack­les so tough. There’s times he’s like an at­ti­tude-changer. We give him the ball in the mid­dle, there’s a change of at­ti­tude, and it’s al­most like our O-line knows that he’s in the back­field tot­ing the mail, and they change their at­ti­tude a lit­tle bit, too. So, re­ally, he’s a dif­fer­ent kind of back and I love to do that. I love to switch styles a lit­tle bit, the power back. Cam Brown’s more of a fi­nesse guy, two hip swivels and a cut, and Crit­ter’s not like that. Crit­ter’s down­hill, so I like to switch that up.”

Prairie Grove re­cov­ered a fum­ble, but couldn’t score be­fore the clock ran out.

LIN­COLN 59, PRAIRIE GROVE 48

P. Grove 7 28 6 7 — 48 Lin­coln 20 14 18 7 — 59 FIRST QUAR­TER Prairie Grove — Gar­rett Hel­temes 3-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 6:34. Lin­coln — Caleb Lloyd 11-yard run (Noe Avel­laneda kick), 3:37. Lin­coln — Cam Brown 2-yard run (Noe Avel­laneda kick), 1:16. Lin­coln — Ster­ling Mor­phis 35-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (run failed), 0:25. SEC­OND QUAR­TER Prairie Grove — Ethan Guen­ther 1-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 5:25. Prairie Grove — Cade Grant 45-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 5:04. Prairie Grove — Ethan Guen­ther 1-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 2:50. Lin­coln — Ster­ling Mor­phis 27-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (Caleb Lloyd run), 1:32.

Prairie Grove — Jake Wat­son 37yard pass from Ethan Guen­ther (Cade Walker kick), 0:36. Lin­coln — Cam Brown 16-yard run (kick blocked), 0:14. THIRD QUAR­TER Lin­coln — Caleb Lloyd 10-yard run (run failed), 10:27.

Prairie Grove — Gar­rett Hel­temes 8-yard run (kick failed), 6:08. Lin­coln — Ster­ling Mor­phis 35-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (pass failed), 4:55.

Lin­coln — Ster­ling Mor­phis 13-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (run failed), 0:24. FOURTH QUAR­TER Prairie Grove — Gar­rett Hel­temes 24-yard run (kick failed), 9:54. Lin­coln — Caleb Lloyd 8-yard run (Noe Avel­laneda kick), 6:08. TEAM STA­TIS­TICS P. Grove Lin­coln To­tal of­fense 547 687 Rushes-yards 48-438 42-301 Pass­ing yards 109 386 Rush av­er­age 9.1 7.2 Comp-Att-TD Int 7-12-1-0 24-41-4-0 IN­DI­VID­UAL STA­TIS­TICS RUSH­ING — Prairie Grove, Gar­rett Hel­temes 22-217, Cade Grant 6-75, Lane Dal­ton 7-71, James Mill­wood 7-69, Ethan Guen­ther 6-6. Lin­coln, Cam Brown 21-173, Caleb Lloyd 13-87, Chris­tian Crit­ten­den 7-49, Daytin Davis 1-(-8). PASS­ING — Prairie Grove, Ethan Guen­ther 7-12-109-1-0. Lin­coln, Caleb Lloyd 24-41-386-4-0. RE­CEIV­ING — Prairie Grove, Jake Wat­son 3-68, Gra­ham Guen­ther 2-24, James Mill­wood 1-10, Lane Dal­ton 1-5. Lin­coln, Noe Avel­laneda 8-121, Ster­ling Mor­phis 7-172, Cam Brown 3-42, Daytin Davis 3-29, Levi Wright 3-22.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Lin­coln se­nior wide re­ceiver Ster­ling Mor­phis fought off an at­tempted tackle by a Prairie Grove Tiger latch­ing onto his hand as he crossed the goal line with a 27-yard touch­down re­cep­tion in the sec­ond quar­ter Fri­day. Mor­phis caught 7 passes for 172 yards as the Wolves knocked off Prairie Grove, 59-48, to earn the third play­off seed from the 4A-1 Con­fer­ence. Lin­coln fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son 8-2 over­all and 5-2 in con­fer­ence.

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