PRINCETON — A combination of superb defense and the occasional big
play in the passing game have been a recipe for success during
Lincoln’s current winning streak, but when the passing attack stalled
in the first half against Princeton on Friday, Rae Haislip was there to
provide a pick-me-up.
The Alices’ senior had over 200 of his career-high 260 rushing yards
in the second half to go with four touchdowns, and Lincoln erased a
halftime deficit to grab a 34-21 victory in the Sectional 30
Lincoln’s seventh straight win gave the school its first sectional
title since 2006, while coach Levi Salters becomes just the third
Alices coach to win a sectional.
“That’s our seventh sectional, and it feels great,” Salters said. “We
challenged the kids when we started the season 1-4. We told them they
could go through and just be another senior class, or they could
battle back, win the sectional, and everyone would forget those four
losses. They came through, and now they’re going to be remembered as
sectional champions. Those seniors worked so hard, and this a great
accomplishment for them. They know what this meant to our program, and
it meant a lot to them too.”
Haislip needed just 19 carries to put up his big rushing total, and he
had 210 on 13 second-half carries. Quarterback Eric Vickers struggled
in the first half but didn’t have an incompletion in the second half,
finishing 7-of-17 for 100 yards and a touchdown. Favian Hernandez had
the other Lincoln touchdown on a 40-yard strike from Vickers in the
Lincoln (8-4) managed just four first downs in the first two periods
and trailed, 10-6, at the break.
“That was probably the worst half of football we’ve played all year,”
Salters said. “We couldn’t do much, and we didn’t execute. Vickers
struggled to throw it with the cold weather. So at halftime, we kind
of just scrapped the game plan and told Rae to go out there and win it
for us. We’ve been waiting for him to have a big game like this, and
he came through for us in a big way.”
The Alices started the second half with possession, and Haislip took
off right away. His first three carries went for 38 yards, and
finished off the eight-play drive with a 3-yard score. Adolfo Ubaldo’s
extra point made it 13-10. The Tigers answered with a 33-yard field
goal by Cole Hurt, his second of the game, to tie it with 4:03 left in
the third, but Haislip continued where he left off.
Haislip romped for 43 yards on his next touch, and he ran it in from 7
yards away as Ubaldo’s kick made it 20-13 with 1:17 showing. After a
quick Tigers three-and-out, Lincoln regained possession at its own 39
with :02 on the clock. Haislip broke free for a 61-yard touchdown with
no time left in the third, and Ubaldo extended the margin to 27-13.
Following another Princeton punt, the Alices put it away with a
seven-play scoring drive that ran off nearly five minutes. This time
Haislip finished with a 15-yard TD, and Ubaldo made it 34-13 with
4:46 to go.
The Tigers (3-9) countered with a 95-yard scoring drive with several
of Lincoln’s defensive starters out. Their two-point conversion
accounted for the final score, and after Baron Vieck recovered the
onside kick, Vickers took three knees to finish it.
Princeton had just 70 yards in the second half before its final drive.
“(Our defense) gave them a lot of problems,” Salters said. “(Dom)
Hardiman made a real nice catch for them, but other than that, they
really didn’t do much.
“We really regrouped (offensively) at halftime. We went to our Hawk
formation, and basically we were running power or sweep every time. E
Smith is a smart kid out at receiver, and we basically just followed his
Gerit Bock led the Tigers with 159 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-24
passing, and he rushed nine times for 40 yards and a score. Hardiman
grabbed seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
The game opened with three straight punts before a Lincoln fumble set
the Tigers up at the Alices’ 19. Lincoln kept Princeton out of the end
zone, but Hurt made a 23-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 2:51 to
go in the first.
Lincoln needed only five plays to take the lead.
Haislip showed a sign of things to come with a 27-yard run where he
broke several tackles and punished numerous Princeton defenders.
Vickers hit Hernandez with a 40-yard TD pass to make it 6-3 with 1:00
left in the first quarter, but Lincoln didn’t score again in the half.
The Tigers took the lead when Hardiman made a 3-yard grab from Bock with 5:42 to go in the
half. Vickers was intercepted by Hardiman on the next series to finish
off Lincoln’s dismal first half.
Lincoln hosts Danville (7-5) at 7:30 p.m. next Friday. Danville topped Indianpolis Ritter on Friday, 34-17.
LINCOLN 34, PRINCETON 21
First downs |15 |12
Rushes-yards |26-301 |29-116
Passing (C-A-I) |7-17-1 |16-24-0
Passing yards |100 |159
Total yards |401 |275
Punts-avg. |2-33.5 |6-37.7
Fumbles-lost |2-1 |1-0
Penalties-yards |9-74 |10-74
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Lincoln |6-0-21-7 — 34
Princeton |3-7-3-8 — 21
P — FG, Cole Hurt 26, 2:51 1st qtr.
L — Favian Hernandez 40 pass from Eric Vickers (kick failed) 1:00 1st qtr.
P — Dom Hardiman 3 pass from Gerit Bock (Hurt kick) 5:42 2nd qtr.
L — Rae Haislip 3 run (Adolfo Ubaldo kick) 8:19 3rd qtr.
P — FG, Hurt 33, 4:03 3rd qtr.
L — Haislip 7 run (Ubaldo kick) 1:17 3rd qtr.
L — Haislip 61 run (Ubaldo kick) :00 3rd qtr.
L — Haislip 15 run (Ubaldo kick) 4:46 4th qtr.
P — Bock 15 run (Hardiman from Bock) 1:34 4th qtr.
RUSHING — Lincoln: Haislip 19-260 (4 TDs), Julius Hardiman 5-41, Vickers 1-0, E Smith 1-(-1). Princeton: Darrion Madison 19-71, Bock 9-40 (TD).
PASSING — Lincoln: Vickers 7-17-1, 100 (TD), Ben Heidenreich 1-5. Princeton: Bock 16-24-0, 159 (TD).
RECEIVING — Lincoln: Hernandez 2-61 (TD), Smith 2-23, Haislip 1-12, Torrence Gillis 2-4. Princeton: Hardiman 7-79 (TD), Braden Matthews 7-62, Madison 2-18.