By John Baker
Buoyed by four touchdowns from Demetrius Williams, the top-seeded Lincoln High School football team punched its ticket to Thanksgiving Day’s Academic Athletic Association championship game with a 26-6 victory over visiting Lowell on Thursday.
Williams scored two touchdowns rushing, one on special teams and another on defense, to go along with a game-high 143 yards rushing on 15 carries in the semifinal win.
“I didn’t think I was going to score at all,” Williams said. “I came out here to fight for my team and they fought with me. We’ve been working hard this entire season to get here. It’s a blessing to be right here, going to T-Day.”
Williams scored his first touchdown just over 2 minutes into the game on a 33-yard run straight through the middle of the line, capping a three-play, 45-yard drive for the Mustangs (10-1). His second score came late in the first quarter when he returned a punt 81 yards.
“We actually had the funnel to the side, but didn’t come up with the tackle,” Lowell head coach Danny Chan said of the Cardinals’ punt coverage on the play. “That’s something to work on next year. Our tackling was horrible.”
After a scoreless second quarter, Williams started off the second half with a 71-yard run up the left side and put his team up 20-0 after the extra point.
“We saw something, actually executed the blocking and did a good job,” said Lincoln head coach Phil Ferrigno. “You give [Williams] a little space [and he excels]. He’s [5-foot-6], 150 pounds, but has the heart of Secretariat.”
Lowell (4-6) finally got on the scoreboard with 3:23 left in the third quarter when quarterback Will Frankel took the snap, briefly fumbled it – drawing the defense to him in the process – then hit a wide-open Michael McCarthy in the end zone for a 17-yard score.
What little hope the Cardinals had left faded with 1:46 left in the game, when a snap went well over Frankel’s head. A number of players scrambled for the ball, bumping it back 42 yards into the end zone, where Williams picked it up for his fourth score.
“That was the biggest thing that ever happened to me at the end of a game. I was just like a magnet going straight for the ball,” Williams said.
Lowell used nine ball carriers to churn out 243 rushing yards, led by Dillon Easterling’s 89 on six carries. The Cardinals, despite the loss, outgained Lincoln 299-212, a much better showing than the week previous, when Lincoln beat Lowell 54-14 in the final game of the regular season.
“I’m just proud of the guys and what they did,” Chan said. “It was a valiant effort and we gave them a little scare.”
Ferrigno credited Lowell for giving his team a good tune-up prior to the Turkey Day matchup with Mission.
“Our defense stepped up again,” he said. “That’s a hard team to play. We knew it wasn’t going to be like last week, because last week everything kind of rolled in our favor.”
Lincoln: 9:40 – Demtrius Williams 33-yard run (kick failed)
Lincoln: 2:13 – Williams 81-yard punt return (conversion failed)
Lincoln: 11:48 – Williams 71-yard run (Tyree Marzetta run on conversion)
Lowell: 3:23 – Michael McCarthy 17-yard pass from Will Frankel (conversion failed)
Lincoln: 1:46 – Williams fumble recovery