When the Lincoln High School football team entered halftime of its eventual 54-7 victory in its season opener against Roosevelt of Portland on Saturday, it was like nothing had changed from last season’s dynamic state-quarterfinal squad.
New coach? New schemes? New quarterback? It didn’t matter. The Abes scored touchdowns on all seven of their first-half drives, taking a 48-7 lead into the break.
But for first-year coach Masaki Matsumoto, it might as well have been 0-0 at halftime.
“When I took this job, and I’ll say this until I die, I don’t care about wins and losses,” Matsumoto said. “Honestly. And I told them that at halftime.
“If they are being selfish and pouting about playing time, or they are being disrespectful to their opponent or worrying about things they can’t control, then I’m not doing my job as a coach. And a coach is not about winning games, it’s about mentoring young men.”
The Abes scored with ease against a Roosevelt team they throttled on the road in last season’s opener, 48-9. But last year was with Jon Kitna — a Lincoln alum and former Seattle Seahawks quarterback with a giant presence — as the coach, and his son, Jordan, as the quarterback, along with five seniors who graduated and received college football scholarships.
The first touchdown of Lincoln’s season came on a fourth-and-8.
Abes junior quarterback Joey Sinclair rolled out of the pocket and found running back Marcus Wiley open down the left sideline. Wiley broke a couple tackles from there and dived into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown.
“Before the game, I had butterflies to the max,” said Sinclair, who completed 8 of 11 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown.
“I was just sitting by myself, just thinking in the showers, ‘I’m ready.’ But I was nervous as heck until the first play.”
Lincoln’s defense forced a three-and-out on Roosevelt’s ensuing possession, and Abes senior running back Dionte Simon, one of the few returning starters, broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run on the first play of Lincoln’s second drive.
Lincoln needed four or fewer plays on all but two of the seven touchdown drives in the first half.
“It was a bit more downhill, a little more run-oriented than last year,” Roosevelt coach Christian Swain said. “But still physical, fast and very disciplined. They are a finished product and we are a rough diamond.
“We knew everything they were going to do. We knew they were going to be more zone-read oriented. But they just got downhill on us.”
Simon ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Senior receiver Tony Archie had four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, not including one called back by a penalty in the second half.
“By the way our coaches prepared us, it wasn’t a surprise,” Simon said. “but it was a surprise because it was Week 1, a lot of pregame jitters and a lot of first-time starters out here.”
But for Matsumoto, he was more concerned about penalties, referees warning him to tell a player to stop running his mouth and players not cheering on the sidelines.
“54-7 isn’t going to make them better husbands,” Matsumoto said. “It’s this stuff, the off-the-field stuff, the character stuff, the being unselfish, not pushing back when someone pushes you first – those are the things that are going to help them become better men. I know it’s a philosophy that a lot of people don’t share or believe in, but I was raised that way.
“If I was in this to win games, I would be trying to be at the college level.”
L – Marcus Wiley 32 pass from Joey Sinclair (kick failed)
L – Dionte Simon 61 run (kick good)
L – Alvin Johnson 22 pass from Sinclair (kick good)
L – Tony Archie 20 pass from Sinclair (kick good)
L – Tristian Kwon 6 run (kick good)
L – Simon 9 run (kick good)
R – Dantae Watklins 62 pass from Bishop Dixon (Jake Peru-Bass kick)
L – Sinclair 42 run (kick good)
L – Kwon 4 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — Roosevelt: Conley Taylor 12-31; Daniel Stauffer 6-18. Lincoln: Dionte Simon 8-107, 2 TDs; Joey Sinclair 8-83, TD; Tristian Kwon 7-67, 2 TDs.
PASSING — Roosevelt: Daniel Stauffer 4-7-1-47; Bishop Dixon 2-4-0-60, TD. Lincoln: Joey Sinclair 8-11-0-161, 3 TDs.
RECEIVING — Dantae Watkins 3-94, TD. Lincoln: Tony Archie 4-95, TD; Marcus Wiley 1-32, TD; Alvin Johnson 2-28.