District Football: Lincoln crushed by S-western Warriors

Published 5:38 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

STANFORD — Lincoln County is still looking for its first district win. 

The Patriots had hoped to right themselves after last week’s disappointing 41-20 district loss to Pulaski County. However, there would be no redemption Friday night at Death Valley Stadium as Lincoln suffered its second setback in Class 5A, District 7 play in a 48-7 loss to Southwestern.

“The thing I keep talking about with the team is physicality. Physicality, and Southwestern had it,” Lincoln coach Travis Leffew said. “Physicality will always win a ballgame. It beat us last week. It beat us this week.”

The visiting Warriors (6-2, 2-0 district) scored on five of their seven first-half possessions and didn’t look back. Senior back Patric Edwards scored five touchdowns to lead Southwestern to the win. He rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns – on runs of 17, 23, 29 and 74 yards – and also pulled in a 29-yard touchdown pass.

“No. 4 (Edwards) was just a one-man hit show and he just did a great job of running the ball down our throats,” said Leffew. “We tried to tackle him high and not low for some reason. We worked all week long about going to his hips and legs in practice, but we didn’t out there tonight.”

Junior quarterback Drew Sawyers, who was 6-for-15 through the air for 112 yards and a touchdown and who rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries, scored the Warriors other touchdowns on special teams. He returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to put Southwestern on top to stay, 14-7, and returned an interception 55 yards for a score in the third quarter.

Lincoln (3-5, 0-2) had just tied the game at 7-all before Sawyers broke for his 75-yard TD. Bryson Yaden intercepted a Sawyers pass and returned the ball to the Warrior 25 to set up up a short field for the offense and Darius Napier, who was held to just 39 yards on 10 carries, ran the ball in on the first play of the drive.

Unfortunately for Lincoln, the 7-7 deadlock lasted all of 15 seconds, with Sawyers returning the ensuing kickoff to set off a run of 41 unanswered points.

“We stress it each week that it’s a four-quarter game. It’s 48 minutes. We tend to play here, and play there,” Leffew said. “We’ve only played one 48 minute game one time this year and that was against Mercer County. So we’ve got to figure out how to get that back. It’s gut-checking time and finish the season strong.”

Edwards, who scored the game’s opening TD from 17 yards out, scored three touchdowns after Sawyers’ kickoff return to grow the Warriors’ lead to 35-7 at the half. He scored on runs of 23 and 29 yards in the second quarter and closed the half with his 28-yard touchdown pass reception.

Sawyers killed Lincoln’s first drive of the second half, lighting up the scoreboard with his 55-yard interception return with 10:13 showing in the third quarter. Edwards then invoked the running clock with 4:07 left in the third, making it 48-7 with a 74-yard scoring run.

Southwestern held Lincoln to just 153 yards offense. Yaden produced the most yardage for Lincoln, completing 13 of 25 passes for 102 yards. He threw four interceptions.

“They play the 4-4 (defense) the way it’s supposed to be played,” Leffew said of the Warriors. “Technnique-wise they are disciplined, they stay at home. We’ve got to really look at that and learn from that because that’s what we’re trying to implement here. We’ve got to really learn the techniques of 4-4 and get our guys focused on those jobs and come out ready to play.”

Lincoln’s defense was led by Josh Salyers and Christian Vergara. Salyers had 16 tackles, five solo and 11 assists, while Vergara had 10 tackles, two solo and eight assists.
Leffew and the Patriots will try again to notch their first district win as they hit the road to South Laurel next Friday.

“We get to go again next week, but in a very hostile environment,” Leffew said. “One of the toughest places I ever played at was South Laurel. We’ve got to go in there focused and try to jump on them quick.”