Lincoln's football team proved last year that a 1-4 start to the season isn't a death sentence, as the squad rattled off seven straight wins and claimed a sectional championship.

At 1-3, the Alices may have a difficult time avoiding that start again when they visit Class 5A honorable mention Castle (2-1) for a 7:30 p.m. start Friday.

Lincoln is coming off the worst regular-season loss in coach Levi Salters four seasons in charge, a 55-7 defeat at 4A No. 6 Evansville Central last week. The team also lost two of its biggest producers, on both sides of the ball, who exited in the first half with injuries.

Leading rusher senior E Smith, who has 270 yards and two scores on 48 carries this season, injured his ankle, but returned to the practice field on Tuesday. Senior Quinn Miller, who's tied for the team lead with 179 receiving yards, injured his knee. Salters said Miller was slated to return to practice Wednesday, and though he was slightly less optimistic about Miller, he expected both to be available Friday.

“(Last week) was one of those games where we watched a little film, and we kind of went over the basic things that we usually do, but didn't do Friday, but then we quickly moved on to Castle,” Salters said. “Sometimes when the kids get overwhelmed, they can completely forget their responsibilities and what they're supposed to do. Add that, on top of E and Miller going out, and everyone was thrown off a little bit. That's kind of what happened.

“Central is a really good team. Not many teams have their speed. And we didn't play well either. That's not a good recipe. But we'll learn from it, and these kids are ready to move on (to Castle).”

Outside of the first play of the second quarter against the Bears, when senior quarterback Eric Vickers connected with senior Blake Mincey for a 58-yard touchdown, the Alices offense was out of sync all night. Vickers was sacked four times and had pass rushers in his face most of the game, finishing 3-of-13 for 71 yards.

The defense was also off last week, as Central accounted for 43 percent of the yards allowed by Lincoln through four games this season. Mincey and Jabin Baltzell had interceptions, but those were about the only positives.

Salters said getting back to basics this week is important, with a focus on the offensive line.

“We need to get back to doing what we do, and we need to keep a clean pocket for our quarterback,” he said. “Castle doesn't bring a ton of pressure, but we need to stay ahead of the sticks and win the turnover game. Defensively we have to read our keys, and the secondary can't get beat over the top. The defense needs to be better, and they may have to keep us in the game Friday.”

The Knights use a similar ratio to Central as far as running and passing is concerned, but they're more of a straight-forward run offense as opposed to the Bears' reliance on misdirection and speed.

Castle's stable of running backs includes seniors Reece Yunker and Connor McIntire, and sophomore Peyton Guerzini. The sophomore led them last week, rushing for 142 yards and three scores in a 35-0 rout of Harrison. But Yunker added 128 yards on 17 touches, and McIntire gained 77 on just seven tries.

The quarterback is sophomore Cameron Tilly. He's 16-for-34 on the season for 149 yards, with no TDs and one interception.

“They rotate those three backs, and it seems like they just want to run the ball and play good defense,” Salters said. “Their sophomore QB can throw it, but they don't let him loose much. He has a good arm, and pretty much all of their passes are play-action. Those guys can take off and get vertical, so we can't give them any easy ones down the field.”

The only common opponent to this point is Mater Dei. The Knights outlasted the Wildcats, 6-3, a week before Lincoln fell to them late, 17-7.

“(Castle and Mater Dei) was a dog fight until the end. (Castle) is right there with Mater Dei, maybe a little better. But I say that, and if Mater Dei makes a play, maybe they win that game. They're pretty close to the same level.”

Though Castle has long been in a middle school conference with the Alices, the schools haven't played a high school football game against each other since 1979, a 25-0 Lincoln victory. The only other meeting was in 1978, also a Lincoln victory, 20-0.

SIAC STANDINGS

|CONF|OFF|DEF

Evansville Central|4-0|159|17

Evansville North|4-0|134|33

Jasper|4-0|144|24

Castle|2-1|48|17

Evansville Reitz|2-2|102|124

Evansville Mater Dei|1-3|30|47

Evansville Memorial|1-3|38|82

Lincoln|1-3|76|107

Evansville Bosse|0-3|13|148

Evansville Harrison|0-4|33|178

Last Friday's results

Central 55, Lincoln 7

Castle 35, Harrison 0

Memorial 13, Mater Dei 10

North 42, Reitz 14

Jasper 45, Bosse 0

Friday's games

Lincoln at Castle

Central at Reitz

Mater Dei at Jasper

Memorial at Harrison

North at Bosse

LINCOLN (1-3)

|L |OPP

First downs |44 |52

Rushes-yards |101-454 |116-684

Passing (C-A-I) |45-95-6 |23-48-5

Passing yards |599 |437

Total yards |1053 |1121

Fumbles-lost |8-4 |8-5

Penalties-yards |42-316 |27-215

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Lincoln |34-34-8-0 — 76

Opponents |27-35-10-35— 107

RUSHING |Att. |Yds. |Avg. |TD

E Smith |48 |270 |5.6 |2

Quinn Miller |7 |88 |12.6 |1

Jackson Johnson |11 |43 |3.9 |1

Julius Hardiman |12 |33 |2.8 |1

Eric Vickers |15 |12 |0.8 |0

DeJuan Gillis |3 |7 |2.3 |0

Austin Waggoner |1 |3 |3.0 |0

Blake Mincey |1 |1 |1.0 |0

Coleton Pfoff |2 |-2 |-1.0 |0

PASSING |C-A-I |Yds. |TD

Eric Vickers |42-89-5 |553 |5

Elijah Hovland |1-1-0 |27 |0

Coleton Pfoff |2-3-0 |19 |0

Zach Steffey |0-1-0 |0 |0

Quinn Miller |0-1-1 |0 |

RECEIVING |Rec. |Yds. |YPC |TD

Quinn Miller |16 |179 |11.2 |1

Blake Mincey |9 |179 |19.9 |2

Payton Curry |7 |87 |12.4 |1

Coleton Pfoff |6 |68 |11.3 |1

E Smith |3 |58 |19.3 |0

Elijah Hovland |2 |18 |9.0 |0

Ty McNeece |1 |6 |6.0 |0

Jackson Johnson |1 |4 |4.0 |0

SCORING |TD |XP |2XP |FG |Pts.

Quinn Miller |3 |0 |0 |0 |18

E Smith |2 |0 |1 |0 |14

Blake Mincey |2 |0 |1 |0 |14

Payton Curry |1 |0 |0 |0 |6

Jackson Johnson |1 |0 |0 |0 |6

Coleton Pfoff |1 |0 |0 |0 |6

Julius Hardiman |1 |0 |0 |0 |6

Jonathan Soderling |0 |6 |0 |0 |6

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.