Region football champion Lincoln charged out of the locker room against a rebuilding Elmore County team and never looked back in a 34-7 win in Class 4A Region 4 action.
The Golden Bear offense was hitting on all cylinders Friday night. Quarterback Javion Surles competed a 63-yard pass to the 1-yard line and senior running back Cam Reynolds finished the touchdown drive.
“We wanted to come out and start fast,” Lincoln coach Matt Zedeker said. “That was what we’ve been talking about all week at practice and I thought our boys came out and did that really well.”
After another brief possession by the Panthers (2-7, 0-6), Lincoln’s Jafrondric Davis took a Zac Jones’ punt all the way to the end zone for another quick touchdown. By the end of the evening, the Golden Bears (7-2, 6-0) had outgained the Panther offense, 229-62, despite pulling most of their starters after the first quarter.
“That’s a really good football team across the way, and they just shut us down, especially offensively,” Elmore County coach Jordan Cantrell said. “They’re well-coached, have some great players, and I think they’ll make it a long way.”
Late in the first quarter, Lincoln added a highlight-reel touchdown, as Surles’ pass to the 5-yard line ricocheted off one player and fell into the arms of David Jacobs, who carried it across the pylon for a touchdown.
The Panthers’ highlight of the evening came as the Golden Bears looked destined for a fourth touchdown. With Tre Wilson running inside the 5-yard line, Keshawn Benson emerged from the pile running the other direction and took the fumble 93 yards for a touchdown. Jones hit the point-after attempt.
The Panthers were hobbled by the absence of a few contributors to the running game, including Ethan Geer and Cole Boothe, but Cantrell made it clear he was making “no excuses.”
Zedeker praised the Panthers’ fight and said they were a valuable step on the Golden Bears’ path to the playoffs.
“That coach is rebuilding that team and they’re going to be really good in the future,” he said. “They fought all night and I give them a lot of credit.”
Lincoln added two more touchdowns in the second half. Reynolds dashed for a 53-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Backup quarterback and sophomore Jack Poarch connected with Davis for a 26-yard score midway through the fourth quarter.
Jones led the defense in tackles filling in for his injured teammates with six tackles. Benson was the Panthers’ rushing leader with just 40 yards.