By Ernest Stone
After a Haroon Mohammed field goal closed out the first half of play, visiting Galileo Academy appeared to be cruising to another Academic Athletic Association victory, leading Lincoln 17-0.
Yet, for perhaps the first time all season, Lincoln proved that it requires all 48 minutes to win a football game, storming back to within a field goal before eventually falling to Galileo 17-14 on Thursday.
“We need to do a better job of tackling and being aggressive,” Galileo head coach Mark Huynh said. “We didn’t practice hard all week, and today we played like we practiced.”
At first, it seemed that Galileo couldn’t play any better.
On just their second offensive play of the game, the Lions (6-4, 5-1) went up 6-0 on a 77-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jonathan Lu to Waynelle Buckner. Then, after a Lincoln fumble gave Galileo a short field, a 4-yard touchdown run from fullback Young Ene moved the score to 14-0.
“They are a quality team, always tough to beat,” Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno said. “But we just kept playing as a team and we did a good job of showing that there are things to be looking forward to next season.”
Lincoln (0-10, 0-6) began the second half by pounding out a 10-minute drive, but its drive ended without points when running back Lazare Gubeladze was stopped on fourth down at the Galileo 3-yard line.
Just as it seemed that Galileo’s bend-but-don’t-break defense would manage the Mustangs’ offense, Gubeladze scored on a run from 3 yards out with 5:32 remaining in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 17-8.
Then, Lincoln quarterback Derek Morrell found junior Jayvon Fields for a 60-yard touchdown with just 41 seconds remaining to bring the score to 17-14.
Unfortunately for Lincoln, the comeback would stop there, as Galileo recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Following the loss, the Mustangs, who have just five seniors on their roster, look to improve upon their closest contest of the season against Lowell next week, who is also winless on the season.
As for Galileo, whose control of the game slipped almost too far, a showdown with Washington is next in line. The game will likely decide second place in the AAA.
“We play Washington next week, and then we might even get them again the week after that,” said Huynh. “We need to adjust our attitudes and bring the aggression next game though, or else we are in trouble.”
G: 11:11 — Waynelle Buckner 77-yard pass from Jonathan Lu (Haroon Mohammed kick missed)
G: 4:20 — Young Ene 4-yard (Conversion good)
G: 0:34 — Mohammed 34-yard field goal
L: 5:32 — Lazare Gubeladze 3-yard run (Conversion good)
L: 0:41 — Jayvon Fields 60-yard pass from Derek Morrell (Conversion failed)