Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lions gets first win in wild shootout over JCSU

By Bill Rudick

LOWER OXFORD — In a CIAA football game that featured as much scoring as a basketball tilt, it was defense that proved the difference in giving Lincoln University its first win of the season, a wild 55-53 affair over Johnson C. Smith University at Frank “Tick” Coleman Field on Saturday.
Lincoln led 48-47, when All-American defensive lineman Tim Green picked off a pass and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown that gave the Lions an eight-point lead with 3:40 to play, but as was the case all afternoon, when one team scored, it seemed the other always had an answer.
JCSU replied on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Rashin Wallace to Matt Jeffries with 54 seconds to play, It came down to the Lions’ defense having to make one final stop to keep the Bulls out of the end zone on the two-point conversion try. The Lions chased Wallace out of the pocket, who lofted a pass that landed harmlessly out of bounds and Lincoln (1-1, 1-4) broke into the win column.
“Defense was kind of a bend but not break prospect for us today,” said Lions’ coach OJ Abanishe. “It might have broken a little here and there, but the defense really brough us the win today with two interception returns for TDs, along with making the stop on the two-point conversion.”
Lincoln found itself in a pretty good size hole in a hurry. Not four minutes into the game, they were down 14-0, the first score came on a Michael Coats interception return. Lincoln cut the lead in half when quarterback Doug Cook connected with Kester Lewis on a crossing pattern that went for a 75-yard score. Lewis caught five balls for a career-best 147 yards, and scored three times.
“I just did what I’ve been coached to do,” said Lewis. “I got open and covered as much ground as I could after the catch. I think I still have quite a bit of room to improve, and I’ll keep working hard to get better.”
Cook, the CIAA offensive player of the week for last week’s 463-yard, five-touchdown effort versus Livingstone, came back with another strong performance, throwing to six different receivers for 363 yards and four TDs, including one second-quarter, five-yard strike to Phillip Jean-Juste with a trio of Bulls defenders hot on Cook’s heels. Lincoln also used a bit of trickery as Coook hit Jethro Spikes an a tackle eligible for a score.
“I saw on my first read I was going to have to make the play with my feet,” said Cook on Jean-Juste’s touchdown. “I just got my feet going and ran around a bit to give my receivers time to get open.  I found Phil and he made a great catch, tip-toeing to stay in bounds. I give all the credit for that touchdown to Phil.”
That score made it 28-28 and the points just kept coming. Lincoln’s Steven Morris picked off a pass and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown, then  Lewis capped the Lions’ 27-point second on a 44-yard pass from Cook with 24 seconds left.
When the Bulls’ Alfred Ntiamoah was good on a 31-yard field goal as time expired on the first half, there were already 75 points on the board, with Lincoln taking a 41-34 lead into the break, the first time it has led at the half all season.
During halftime, Lincoln honored its inaugural Hall of Fame class, including Dr. Frank “Tick” Coleman, who played a major role in bringing football back to Lincoln.
“I’m sure Tick was up there screaming that we need to run the ball,” said Abanishe. Lincoln obliged as working out of a power-I, Gerald Swain
finished just two yards shy of notching the Lions’ first 100-yard game of the year.
“We’ve been concentrating on finishing in the red zone, including implementing more of a power running game,” Abanishe. “I thought we ran the ball well today, and when you run, you keep defenses honest, and it’s a lot harder to defend.”
With the Lions clinging to a 48-47 lead, the Bulls started driving, marching 67 yards on nine plays and eating up 4:03 in the process.  On first-and-ten from the 19, Wallace dropped back to pass intending to hit a short pass to one of his backs.  But Green read it all the way, and went up high to make the pick, and then rumbled the distance to take it to the house.
“The coaches were yelling to watch for the screen,” said Green. “I just played the ball, pulled it down, and then my teammates made it easy for me to go all the way.”
Green finished with a game-high 11 tackles, including to for a total nine yards lost, as the Lions posted its first win over the season.
“It was an exciting day,” said Abanishe. “I’m glad the newly inducted Hall of Famers got to see us put up a win.  I know Dr. (Leonard) Bethel was pacing the sidelines all afternoon, but he was grinning from ear to ear at the end.”

Lincoln 55
Johnson C. Smith 53
 Johnson C. Smith    28 6 7 12 -- 53
Lincoln     14 27 0 14 -- 55
J-Coats 61 interception return (Ntiamoah kick)
J-Anderson 4 run (Ntiamoah kick)
L-Lewis 75 pass from Cook (Jaski kick)
J-Anderson 1 run (Ntiamoah kick)
L-Cook 1 run (Jaski kick)
J-Scott 29 pass from Wallace (Ntiamoah kick)
L-Spikes 3 pass from Cook (Jaski kick)
L-Jean-Juste 5 pass from Cook (Jaski kick)
L-Morris 81 interception return (Jaski kick)
J-FG Ntiamoah 25
L-Lewis 44 pass from Mitchell (Jaski kick)
J--FG Ntiamoah 31
J--Johnson II 45 fumble recovery (Ntiamoah kick)
L-Lewis 6 pass from Cook (Jaski kick)
J-Scott 5 pass from Wallace (Ntiamoah kick)
L-Green 77 interception return (Jaski kick)
J-Jeffries 11 pass from Wallace (pass failed)
Team Totals
    JCS     L
First downs     27    23
Yards rushing     248    92
Yards passing     294    387
Total yards    542    479
Passing     18-37-4    28-44-2
Fumbles-Lost     1-1    0-0
Penalties    16-153    4-52
Punts-Avg.     2-37.0    2-25.5
Individual Statistics
RUSHING - JCS: Anderson 20-161, 2 TDs; Hartley 13-64; Wallace 7-23; Jones 1-0. LU: Swain 18-98; Mitchell 1-1; Team 2-0; Cook 9-(-7), TD.
PASSING - JCS: Wallace 18-37-4, 294 yds., 3 TDs. LU: Cook 27-43-2, 343 yds., 4 TDs; Mitchell 1-1-0, 44 yds., TD.
RECEIVING - JCS: Scott 8-107, 2 TDs; Hutchison 6-97; Jeffries 4-90, TD. LU: Jean-Juste 10-94, TD; Mitchell 7-78; Lewis 5-147, 3 TDs; Coston 2-68; Swain 2-(-5); Gardner 1-2; Spikes 1-3, TD.
SACKS - JCS: Shine, Rankin, Talton. LU: Johnson.
INTERCEPTIONS - JCS: Coats, Shine. LU: Morris 2, Lockley, Green.

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