The Lincoln High School football team wasn’t panicking at halftime.
The Abes trailed, but they had also turned the ball over four times and had almost 100 yards in penalties. They couldn’t have played much worse.
“We are going to turn the ball over,” said Lincoln coach Jon Kitna. “We do things other people don’t. We are going to have turnovers. A couple of those were on me. Bad football calls.”
But No. 9 Lincoln proceeded to outscore visiting Puyallup by 30 points in the second half on its way to a 52-23 nonleague victory Friday.
Abes quarterback Jordan Kitna threw two interceptions in the first half. He finished 20 of 37 for 377 yards passing. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more.
Linebacker Jusstis Warren, who missed most of last season due to injury, had two second-half interceptions of Puyallup quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb, including one he returned for a 16-yard score in the third quarter to put the Abes up 25-14.
“We just had to do our jobs,” Warren said. “We came out in the first half, we did alright, we played hard, but we overwhelmed them in the second half. That’s what we want to do: overwhelm them every game.”
But, oh, that first half.
Pinned back on the Abes’ 10 near the start of the second quarter, Jordan Kitna dropped back and threw toward the right sideline.
His pass was picked off by Puyallup’s Brady Winter. Winter ran it from the 22 down to the 3 before being hit, but he powered his way into the end zone for a touchdown and a Vikings lead after the extra point.
By then, the Abes (2-0) already had a turnover on downs and a lost fumble, but Puyallup (1-1) didn’t make them pay until the interception return.
Lincoln struck back. Kitna hit Curtis transfer Jayson Williams — who caught eight passes for 145 yards and two second-half touchdowns in his first game with Lincoln — downfield for a 46-yard pass to set up an 8-yard touchdown throw to Dionte Simon.
So all was good again for the Abes. Marcus Johnson then picked off Holcomb’s pass to give Lincoln the ball back at its own 31. So even better.
Not for long.
Lincoln forced Puyallup to punt, but the official ruled it touched a Lincoln player downfield, and the Vikings recovered in the red zone. Holcomb then hit Tallon Yearbury in the back right corner of the end zone on fourth down, and the Vikings took a 14-13 lead into halftime.
The second half might as well have been a different game.
The Abes scored a touchdown on their opening drive on Williams’ first TD catch, then rolled from there, outscoring the Vikings 39-3 before a late Puyallup score.
Puyallup had 273 yards of offense to Lincoln’s 625. That helped offset the Abes’ 20 penalties for 180 yards.
“A lot of people can say a lot of things about us, but we know who we are,” Williams said. “We are a hard-hitting team and we are going to be a very competitive team.”