Offense Clicks As Teams Enter Playoffs
LINCOLN AT HAMBURG, PG AT LONOKE FRIDAY
LINCOLN — As Lincoln celebrated its first win over Prairie Grove in 20 games Friday, Don Harrison became only the second coach to guide the Wolves into the playoffs twice.
Brad Harris, now at Benton, accomplished the feat in 2011 and 2013.
Harrison aims to make playoffs a common occurrence and is preparing the Wolves as Lincoln (8-2, 5-2 No. 3 4A-1) travels to Hamburg (7-3, 5-2 No. 3 4A-8) Friday. The Wolves enter postseason with momentum. Despite giving up 547 yards of total offense to Prairie Grove, Lincoln found a way to win.
Harrison, who picked up his first win against Prairie Grove, since taking over the Wolves’ football program in 2015, praised his assistants for making defensive adjustments that held Prairie Grove to 13 points in the second half.
“We had to change some stuff cause the second drive of the game we lost our ‘Mike linebacker,’ Bradley Drain,” Harrison said. “We don’t how bad he is, but hopefully he comes back and it’s not that bad. He got caught up in a pile and when you lose your linebacker, he’s our ‘Mike linebacker,’ for a reason. He’s our dude so it’s tough and we lost him and that kind of messed us up a little bit.”
Key stops by Blake Arnold, Christian Sellers and Hunter Phelan forced Prairie Grove into a three-and-out late in the third quarter with Lincoln leading 46-41.
“We had to really adjust some things and do some different things,” Harrison said. “We made a huge adjustment at halftime and I mean we only allowed 13 points after halftime. That was huge, so really, really proud of the boys, and Coach (Beau) Collins. Coach Collins, Coach (Austin) Lewis, Coach (Erwin) Starts, they did an adjustment at halftime and we only allowed 13 points. It was amazing.”
The Wolves offense continued to roll.
An occasional incomplete pass never seemed to rattle the Wolves. They’d come back to the line of scrimmage on the next down confident in their ability to convert. On second-and-10, tailback Cam Brown ripped off a 20-yard run, and quarterback Caleb Lloyd threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Morphis on fourth-and-7.
“We’ve worked on that all year, like Coach Harrison says, ‘forget about one play, go on to the next, you do one play and it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t really matter,’” Lloyd said.
In another situation defenders have Lloyd in their grasp, but he has the upper body strength and presence of mind to complete a pass to Levi Wright transforming a potential negative-yardage play into a positive gain.
“They had me wrapped up, I was going down, I saw Levi Wright for a quick second, our tight end No. 5,” Lloyd said. “He did a great job getting in the grass, getting open. I just kind of caught a glimpse of him before I hit the ground, gave it a shot, took a risk, it paid off.”
Asked about pressure to perform with so many expectations centered around him at quarterback, Lloyd shrugs that off.
“I try not to look at it too much because I know the pressure can get to you,” Lloyd said. “I just think of the game, just think of what’s going on in the situation, put the ball where I need to, make plays where I need to.”
Lloyd credited the offensive line with allowing him to set up and see the field in generating 687 yards of total offense.
“Our line did great, giving me time to throw,” Lloyd said. “Even when I rolled out they knew where to get, they knew who to pick up. They never really let anyone get to me. They do a great job every time. That’s why I made all my plays is they gave me time to get the ball off.”
Brown’s speed at tailback factored into the Wolves 301 yards rushing drawing praise from his coach.
“There’s a guy, I’m really proud of him. There’s a guy, who injured himself early on, had surgery; and it took four weeks to get him back. I don’t think anybody’s every worked so hard in rehab to come back,” Harrison said. “I was really proud of him for coming back and the way he played the last games.”
Harrison planned to take a good look at the defense.
“When I break all this down and I go inside, I’m going to watch this film tonight and we’re going to fix the things we got to fix,” Harrison said. “Tomorrow morning we’re getting film and then we’re going to work on whoever they put in front of us and that’s the attitude you have to have,” But, I want our kids and this community and our program to enjoy this.”
Friday kickoff is 7 p.m. for both Lincoln at Hamburg and Prairie Grove at Lonoke.
Prairie Grove sophomore Cade Grant (No. 1) breaks a 45-yard touchdown run that helped the Tigers surge ahead, 28-20, in the second quarter Friday. Lincoln rallied in the second half and won 59-48 to break a 19-game losing streak to the Tigers.