By Josh Levine
For the first time in over a year and a half, Lincoln High School won a varsity football game, defeating visiting Balboa 14-6 in both teams’ Academic Athletic Association opener on Saturday.
The Mustangs (1-3, 1-0) ended a 15-game losing streak by tallying 144 rushing yards on 44 carries and continually pounded the ball up the middle of an injured Balboa defense.
The Buccaneers (1-3, 0-1) played with only 15 players and fatigue showed in the middle of the third quarter.
“We played really well out there today. Our effort was great and I’m just happy to win a game,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “The kids played hard and it showed today. [We] had a great pass defense and our run game found a good niche in the second half.”
The biggest surprise of the day came from sophomore Joshua Burnoski, who started at quarterback in the place of injured junior Derek Morrell.
Burnoski threw for 69 yards on 5-of-6 passing and had only one turnover on a botched snap. He also connected with fellow sophomore Davion Telbor for the opening touchdown of the game.
“This win feels amazing. I can’t find the words to describe it,” Burnoski said. “We had our doubts on the season, especially because of the winning drought we were in. When Morrell went out with the injury, coach gave me the shot to start and I made the most of it.”
Balboa simply could not find the answers that it needed to stop the Mustangs rushing attack. Injuries, grades, and missing key graduating seniors from 2010 have impacted the Turkey Day finalists in a very negative way.
“I’m surprised, but it is what it is,” said Balboa head coach Alvaro Carvajal. “If you don’t come out to play, you will lose and today nothing showed up. This needs to be our wake up call. I thought our last non-league game was our wake up call, but clearly we missed that.”
Like Lincoln, the Buccaneers were without starting senior quarterback David Lantow due to injury. Andres Arellano, normally a wide receiver, started at quarterback, but had his fair share of struggles.
“We have to fix what we have,” Carvajal said. “We are expecting more players down the line, but today we just didn’t play good football at all. No excuses.”
With the win, the Mustangs are tied for first place in the AAA. While this may not be considered a milestone or an accomplishment so early in the season, Ferrigno was pleased with the result.
“Right now we just need to take this one game at a time and not worry about the next one,” Ferrigno said. “We need to enjoy this win and learn from it, and get ready for next week [against Galileo].”