LINCOLN -- Don Harrison could have been preaching a Sunday morning sermon instilling resilience, his Wolves got the message overcoming a 28-point second quarter by Prairie Grove.
The 4A-1 regular season finale for both teams featured ebb and flow with momentum shifting back and forth before Lincoln (8-2, 5-2 4A-1) emerged victorious over Prairie Grove (5-5, 4-3 4A-1) for the first time in 20 games by a 59-48 score Friday. Lincoln hadn't won in the series since a 14-0 victory in November of 1994.
"The onside kick was awesome, the turnover early was big, and then we jumped out on top of them," Harrison said. "Then they come back and it's bang, bang, bang; and we're down one at halftime. I've said it a million times, 'focus on your specifics and not your circumstances.'"
Prairie Grove scored first on Garrett Heltemes 2-yard run to take a 7-0 lead on Cade Walker's P.A.T. kick midway through the first quarter.
Lincoln then reeled off 20 straight points much as they done after spotting Gentry a 7-0 lead a week prior. In a 3:12 span, Lincoln put three touchdowns on the board. Senior quarterback Caleb Lloyd's 11-yard touchdown run coupled with Noe Avellaneda's kick started the Wolf surge fueled by a Prairie Grove turnover leading to Cam Brown's 2-yard touchdown run and a successful onside kick recovery which set up Lloyd's 31-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Sterling Morphis.
Prairie Grove rallied with a roar scoring 28 points in 4:49. James Millwood's tackle forced a Lincoln turnover on downs. The Tigers drove for a score with quarterback Ethan Guenther sneaking in from the one. Walker's boot drew the Tigers within, 21-20, at the 5:25 mark of the second period.
Lincoln fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. On the next play from scrimmage, Cade Grant broke a 46-yard touchdown run by getting outside on a sweep. With Walker's P.A.T. tacked on the Tigers led, 21-20. Penalties put Lincoln in a punting situation and Prairie Grove blocked the kick. Heltemes scooped up the ball returning it to Lincoln's one. Guenther crashed in for his second rushing touchdown of the period and Prairie Grove led 28-20.
Lincoln then got its offense on track moving 69 yards in 6 plays scoring on Lloyd's 27-yard touchdown pass to Morphis. Lloyd ran in a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
Prairie Grove's next drive mirrored Lincoln's. The Tigers marched 64 yards in 5 plays capped by Guenther's 37-yard touchdown pass to Jake Watson with Walker's kick giving Prairie Grove a 35-28 lead. Only 36.7 seconds were left before halftime, which was more than enough time for Lloyd and the Wolves' offense. Lincoln covered 67 yards in three plays highlighted by Brown taking a shovel pass from Lloyd and sprinting 16 yards for a touchdown with the clock down to 14.9 seconds. The point-after kick was blocked and Prairie Grove held a 35-34 halftime lead.
"It was a dogfight, a great game for fans," said Prairie Grove Danny Abshier. "At one point it was like who could make the most mistakes. Both sides (had) lots of mistakes, both sides had some great plays, really couldn't stop the other one. They just had a little more gas than we did."
The third quarter was a showcase of Lincoln offensive prowess. Lloyd completed 6-of-11 passes for 106 yards with touchdown tosses of 35 and 13 yards to Morphis. Brown gained 77 yards on 7 carries, and Lloyd ran twice for 21 yards and a touchdown as the Wolves piled up 212 yards of offense in the third.
Lincoln failed on all three conversion attempts while Prairie Grove banged out a nine-play, 68-yard drive, scoring on fourth down on Garrett Heltemes 8-yard run. The kick failed and Lincoln led 52-41 after three quarters of play.
"Our kids kept focussing on what they needed to do, and before you know it we were ahead," Harrison said. "And before you know it, we're ahead by 10 and 11. They just kept fighting. This team's done an awesome job. They're 8-2 for a reason."
The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth. Prairie Grove recovered an onside kick capitalizing on a short field. Heltemes polished off the drive by stepping out of tackles on a 20-yard jaunt to the end zone. Walker's kick drew the Tigers within, 52-48 with 9:54 showing.
Lincoln matched that with Lloyd's fourth down 8-yard scoring dash and Avellaneda's kick to regain an 11-point lead of 59-48. At that juncture the fourth quarter clock displayed 6:08.
Morphis' interception ended a promising Prairie Grove drive, but he was tackled at Lincoln's seven. The Wolves sought to run the clock out running off eight plays with a key third-and-seven 27-yard pass play from Lloyd to Avellaneda to get out of the shadow of their own end zone. On second-and-10, Harrison inserted backup tailback, battering ram Christian Crittenden (5-10, 207), who carried twice for gains of 21 and 9 yards moving the ball to Prairie Grove's 33 and burning the clock.
"The 'Critter,' yeah, 'the Critter,' Christian Crittenden is an amazing young man," Harrison said. "He's All-District for sure at linebacker, but I think he could be All-State (by) how awesome he's played all year long. He's toughed it out, and he gets in there at times and he carries the ball between the tackles so tough. There's times he's like an attitude-changer. We give him the ball in the middle, there's a change of attitude, and it's almost like our O-line knows that he's in the backfield toting the mail, and they change their attitude a little bit, too. So, really, he's a different kind of back and I love to do that. I love to switch styles a little bit, the power back. Cam Brown's more of a finesse guy, two hip swivels and a cut, and Critter's not like that. Critter's downhill, so I like to switch that up."
Prairie Grove recovered a fumble, but couldn't score before the clock ran out.
LINCOLN 59, PRAIRIE GROVE 48
Prairie Grove -- Garrett Heltemes 3-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 6:34.
Lincoln -- Caleb Lloyd 11-yard run (Noe Avellaneda kick), 3:37.
Lincoln -- Cam Brown 2-yard run (Noe Avellaneda kick), 1:16.
Lincoln -- Sterling Morphis 35-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (run failed), 0:25.
Prairie Grove -- Ethan Guenther 1-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 5:25.
Prairie Grove -- Cade Grant 45-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 5:04.
Prairie Grove -- Ethan Guenther 1-yard run (Cade Walker kick), 2:50.
Lincoln -- Sterling Morphis 27-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (Caleb Lloyd run), 1:32.
Prairie Grove -- Jake Watson 37-yard pass from Ethan Guenther (Cade Walker kick), 0:36.
Lincoln -- Cam Brown 16-yard run (kick blocked), 0:14.
Lincoln -- Caleb Lloyd 10-yard run (run failed), 10:27.
Prairie Grove -- Garrett Heltemes 8-yard run (kick failed), 6:08.
Lincoln -- Sterling Morphis 35-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (pass failed), 4:55.
Lincoln -- Sterling Morphis 13-yard pass from Caleb Lloyd (run failed), 0:24.
Prairie Grove -- Garrett Heltemes 24-yard run (kick failed), 9:54.
Lincoln -- Caleb Lloyd 8-yard run (Noe Avellaneda kick), 6:08.
RUSHING -- Prairie Grove, Garrett Heltemes 22-217, Cade Grant 6-75, Lane Dalton 7-71, James Millwood 7-69, Ethan Guenther 6-6. Lincoln, Cam Brown 21-173, Caleb Lloyd 13-87, Christian Crittenden 7-49, Daytin Davis 1-(-8).
PASSING -- Prairie Grove, Ethan Guenther 7-12-109-1-0. Lincoln, Caleb Lloyd 24-41-386-4-0.
RECEIVING -- Prairie Grove, Jake Watson 3-68, Graham Guenther 2-24, James Millwood 1-10, Lane Dalton 1-5. Lincoln, Noe Avellaneda 8-121, Sterling Morphis 7-172, Cam Brown 3-42, Daytin Davis 3-29, Levi Wright 3-22.Sports on 11/07/2018
Print Headline: Offensive Showcase