By Jeremy Balan
The Bell Game has had plenty of blowouts in its 68-year history, but it had been a while since Lincoln High School simply dominated rival Washington.
There was no doubt which team was superior on Saturday afternoon, as Lincoln ran for 325 yards and held the Eagles to just 129 yards of total offense in a 35-0 win.
The Mustangs (4-1, 2-0) took back the Victory Bell, ending a three-year Washington (1-4, 1-1) win streak, with the most lopsided victory in the series since 2005, when Lincoln won 49-14. It’s also the first shutout in the series since 2000, when Washington routed the Mustangs 72-0. Washington still leads the series 35-32-1.
The Lincoln triple-option attack provided more than enough scoring, but it was the Mustangs’ defensive unit that had its best performance of the season.
The sure-tackling Lincoln stop unit held the Eagles to just 74 yards of total offense through the first three quarters and intercepted Washington quarterback Simon Ma twice. The second interception was picked by Lincoln senior safety Derek Morrell and returned 45 yards for a score late in the second quarter to give the Mustangs a commanding 20-0 lead at the break.
“The defense played great today,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “It’s the first week they showed up. Last week they showed up in spurts, but today was all out.”
Lincoln senior defensive back Demetrius Williams also had an interception, but had his greatest impact at tailback, running for a game-high 114 yards on 15 carries, including a 40-yard score early in the fourth quarter to cap the Mustangs’ scoring.
“We were disappointed early because we started slow and weren’t playing our game,” Williams said. “We picked it up, though.”
Morrell, who also starts at quarterback, didn’t complete a pass on five attempts, but operated the triple-option to near perfection. Four Lincoln runners had 50 yards or more rushing, including Morrell, who had 50 yards on six carries and a 26-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“That touchdown was all him. He looked at me and said, ‘I’m taking it’,” Ferrigno said. “He’s a great leader right now and the guys are rallying around him.”
Lincoln junior running back Tyree Marzetta added 97 yards on nine carries and sophomore fullback Justus Smith had 59 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.
“We got back to playing Lincoln football,” Morrell said. “I really like [the triple-option]. It’s really about the confidence I have in my team. I know that they’re all going to perform. I just have to do my part.”
Washington had just eight first downs and struggled to establish a consistent rushing attack in its regular offense.
The Eagles got most of their production late, on scrambles by Ma on broken passing plays. Ma led all Washington runners with 43 yards on five carries and threw for 41 yards through the air on 7-of-15 passing.
“You practice the way you play the game and we didn’t practice as hard as we should this week,” said first-year Washington head coach Taylan Plasch. “In the second half, there was just no more gas in the tank.”
Harold Abend contributed to this report
L: 11:01 – Justus Smith 1-yard run (Derek Morrell kick)
L: 2:36 – Morrell 26-yard run (Morrell kick)
L: 2:13 – Morrell 45-yard interception return (kick failed)
L: 6:00 – Smith 30-yard run (Tyree Marzetta run on conversion)
L: 11:18 – Demetrius Williams 40-yard run (Morrell kick)