By Bonta Hill
For the first 42 minutes of its game against visiting Marshall High School, Lincoln did everything it could to lose a football game.
But after recovering a Marshall fumble with 6:30 remaining in the game, the Mustangs drove 70 yards, capped by Demetrius Williams 4-yard touchdown run and that proved to be the difference in Lincoln’s 14-7 Academic Athletic Association victory on Saturday.
“It was ugly, but I’m just happy [we] overcame adversity better than last week,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “They showed a lot of heart in a hard-hitting game. “
On the other sideline, the Phoenix were disappointed a game so important in the AAA playoff race slipped through their grasp.
There was one play in the third quarter that specifically touched a nerve.
The Phoenix were leading 7-6 early in the third quarter with Lincoln deep in Marshall territory when Marshall’s Mark Alexander stripped Lincoln fullback Giovanni Catalan at the 6-yard line, and returned the ball for for a 94-yard touchdown to give the Phoenix what appeared to be a 13-6 lead.
But the touchdown was taken away on a penalty for a block in the back, a call that infuriated the Marshall sideline.
“That was a phantom call and I didn’t believe it was a block in the back at all,” said Marshall head coach Kamon Pierce. “The game shouldn’t have been that close anyway. We’ll just have to take our frustration out on Burton [next week].”
Still, Lincoln’s defense was stout throughout, limiting the Phoenix to just 91 total yards of offense, while the Mustangs rushed for 225 yards of their own.
But the Mustangs battled self-inflicted mistakes all game, including fumbles, penalties, and failed red-zone opportunities.
“We’ve got to handle snaps better, and eliminate the silly mistakes,” Ferrigno said. “We’ll take the win and keep improving.”
Even though Marshall lost in the game’s final moments, they still have an outside shot at making the AAA playoffs.
“We need to run the table to get to where we want to get, but we just need guys to consistently come to practice,” Pierce said. “We let one get away today, but give Lincoln credit, they made the plays and we didn’t.”
M: 2:52 — Kemari Mitchell 5-yard run (Vaughn Davis kick good)
L: 6:05 — Giovanni Catalan 15-yard run (kick failed)
L: 1:19 — Demetrius Williams 4-yard run (Jay’von Fields run on conversion)