Lions stretch winning streak to 20
Lincoln scores three touchdowns in game’s first nine minutes against rivals
SAN JOSE » Any chances for a San Jose upset in the 75th Big Bone game against Lincoln were gone midway through the first quarter Thursday.
The crowd was barely settled into the seats at Oak Grove High, and Lincoln had already found the end zone three times.
It didn’t get closer the rest of the way as the Lions cruised to a 49-14 victory, running their winning streak in the annual Thanks giving Day game between San Jose’s oldest public schools to 20.
“It’s a neat milestone to reach,” said coach Kevin Collins, who has been there for all 20. “The kids came ready to play. They were fired up to play.”
Both teams brought sub-. 500 records into the matchup, but the difference between the teams was clear from the outset.
Lincoln needed 12 plays on its opening series to score its first touchdown. It got runs of 22 yards by Isaac Juarez and 11 yards by quarterback Gavin Kalama-Florence to set up a 3-yard scoring run by Gabe Florez.
A bad snap on a punt attempt handed Lincoln the ball on the San Jose 13 to start the Lions’ next series. Two plays later, Juarez scored from the 7 to make it 14- 0 midway through the opening quarter.
The lead widened to three touchdowns after San Jose failed to convert a first down from deep in its own end.
A 16-yard pass from Kalama-Florence to Alejandro Martinez-Loera moved Lincoln to the 10. On the next play, Kalama-Florence scampered across the goal line for a 21- 0 lead, that touchdown coming with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
Lincoln (4-7) went 69 yards for its fourth touchdown, a series slowed by bubbling emotions on both sides. Adam Arenas, every bit as small as his 5-foot3, 130-pound listing on the roster, weaved through a pack of big guys from 10 yards out for the score.
The game already well in hand, Lincoln added a fifth touchdown after taking over at its 19 in the final minute of the first half.
Collins calls his team the anti-spread because he usually keeps the ball on the ground, but Kalama-Florence completely took charge in the two-minute drill.
He connected with Juarez for 20 yards on the first play. Later, he scrambled for 20 yards to the San Jose 34. Then, after two incomplete passes, he found daylight around the left side and cruised into the end zone, the 34-yard run stretching the lead to 35- 0 with one second left in the first half.
On a day Lincoln rushed for 267 yards, Kalama-Florence led the way with 87 and two touchdowns.
“It was very nerve-racking at first,” the senior said. “But after the first play, I was good to go.”
San Jose (2-9) had its best series of the game to start the second half. The Bulldogs moved 79 yards in 13 plays, an 11-yard run by quarterback Kylan Harris accounting for the touchdown.
Harris, in his last high school game, added a second touchdown on another 11-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
“I was just trying to put some points on the board, trying to help my team come together,” said the senior, who rushed for 101 yards and threw for 48. “We didn’t get the win, but it’s all good, though.”
San Jose was competitive against its rival in 2014 and 2015, losing an overtime heart-breaker three years ago and by just 7- 0 the following season. But the past two games have not been close.
Collins took a trip down memory lane after the latest victory. The longtime Lincoln coach noted that the last San Jose coach to beat Lincoln, Brad Syth, was in attendance.
“We won the first one, then lost the next two; we won the next one and you can put this in: Mark Krail was our defensive coordinator the last time we lost,” Collins said, a tongue in cheek reference to his friend and current Los Gatos head coach. “He always gives himself a bad time about that.”
There were no bad times on the Lincoln side Thursday. The large crowd that gathered heard a familiar chant by the Lions players after the trophy presentation:
“The Bone stays home! The Bone stays home!”
Lincoln running back Isaac Juarez runs with the ball in the first half of the 75th Big Bone game Thursday.