Julius Hardiman has been an important player all season in his first year at Lincoln, but the Washington transfer’s most memorable performance may have came on Friday.
The junior rushed in Lincoln’s final score on offense, and his pass rushing on defense generated two sacks and a key incompletion late to help the Alices seal a 14-6 victory over previously unbeaten Mount Carmel, Ill., at Inman Field.
Rae Haislip paced the offense with 81 yards on 14 carries. Eric Vickers completed 8-of-18 passes for 139 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown strike to Torrence Gillis.
It was the third straight win for Lincoln, and its third straight against the Golden Aces, who exit the schedule after this season. The Alices (4-4) also won the first three in the series, which began in 2003.
Both teams struggled to move the ball Friday. Lincoln finished with 237 yards of offense, while the Golden Aces (6-1) had just 157.
“The defense played phenomenal,” Lincoln coach Levi Salters said. “Rae and Julius from the defensive end spots were pretty much impossible to stop, and that allowed us to just rush four late in the game.”
The coach also praised the play of linebackers Brayten Potter and Logan McCrary, and defensive back Jabin Baltzell.
Trailing 7-6, Mount Carmel took over on its own 35 with 3:32 remaining after a failed fourth-down attempt by the Alices.
On the first play Hardiman raced in untouched and took down backup quarterback Aden Gill, who replaced starter Kaleb Applebey early in the second half after he left with an injury. A Gill 7-yard rush and a bad snap gave the Aces 4th-and-long at the 17. Hardiman once again put pressure on Gill, but he was held. Still, Hardiman managed to get enough pressure on Gill to force an incompletion and a turnover on downs.
On the next play, Hardiman rushed it in from 17 yards out to make it 14-6 with 1:26 to go.
“That fourth down, that was all him,” Salters said. “They had to hold him to slow him down, and he still beat the hold and got back to get the quarterback. This is his first year playing defensive end, and if you look at his stats, they’re crazy. He’s learned the position well, and he plays hard.
"We knew they might let us run it in so they could get the ball back, and we talked about going down to keep the clock running. But ultimately we just decided to take it if they gave it to us, kick the extra point, and let our defense finish it off.”
Mount Carmel still had a chance, taking over at its 31 with 1:20 left, but Andrew Brown notched a sack on the first play, and Hardiman’s sack on fourth down wrapped up the victory.
The Aces were set back early when running back Zeke Hadra went out with an injury late in the first half. The sophomore had over 1,000 yards entering the game, and he still managed 53 on 10 carries before leaving.
Salters wasn’t overly pleased with his team’s offense, but was happy the defense was good enough to make up for it.
“We did what we needed to do,” he said. “It’s tough offensively when it’s wet like this. You’re going to have some bad plays, but you just have to forget it. When the defense is playing this good, we’re going to be fine.”
The first half was a defensive battle as both teams punted on their first two positions. On Golden Aces’ third drive, it was a steady diet of Hadra, who used five consecutive runs to get inside the Lincoln 15. But he was stuffed on third down, and after the first quarter expired, Mount Carmel attempted a 28-yard field goal. A bad snap thwarted the attempt, however, to give the Alices possession, but they went three-and-out again.
After forcing a punt, Lincoln finally put together a scoring drive. The big play was a Haislip 35-yard rush to take the Alices to the Mount Carmel 29. On the next play, Gillis hauled in a touchdown strike from Vickers, and Adolfo Ubaldo’s kick made it 7-0 with 5:13 showing in the second period.
Hadra exited with an apparent injury after his final first-quarter run, and he didn’t return. Applebey also left with an injury in the second quarter, but he returned to take the final two snaps of the first half.
Lincoln turned it over on the first play of the second half, giving Mount Carmel the ball at the 16. The Aces needed just five plays to score, as Applebey rushed in from 2 yards away. The kick failed, and Applebey didn't return.
The Alices conclude their regular season with a Big Eight Conference game at Princeton next Friday at 8 p.m.
LINCOLN 14, MOUNT CARMEL 6
First downs |7 |10
Rushes-yards |43-96 |21-98
Passing (C-A-I) |4-13-0 |8-18-1
Passing yards |51 |139
Total yards |157 |237
Punts-avg. |3-36.7 |5-28.8
Fumbles-lost |4-0 |0-0
Penalties-yards |5-30 |4-28
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mount Carmel |0-0-6-0 — 6
Lincoln |0-7-0-7 — 14
L — Torrence Gillis 29 pass from Eric Vickers (Adolfo Ubaldo kick) 5:13 2nd qtr.
MC — Kaleb Applebey 2 run (kick failed) 9:44 3rd qtr.
L — Julius Hardiman 17 run (Ubaldo kick) 1:26 4th qtr.
RUSHING — Mount Carmel: Zeke Hadra 10-53, Aden Gill 15-22, Trevor Peterson 3-11, Satchel Patberg 2-10, Cade Newkirk 4-9, Applebey 6-3 (TD), Caleb Norrick 1-2, Beau Stipp 1-(-4), Kyle Kline 1-(-10). Lincoln: Rae Haislip 4-81, Hardiman 5-19 (TD), Favian Hernandez 1-1, E Smith 1-(-3).
PASSING — Mount Carmel: Applebey 3-7-0, 35; Gill 1-6-0, 16. Lincoln: Vickers 8-18-1, 139 (TD).
RECEIVING — Mount Carmel: Patberg 2-25, Kline 1-24, Stipp 1-2. Lincoln: Haislip 3-38, Gillis 2-35 (TD), Hernandez 2-29, Baron Vieck 1-11.