Jayson Williams was asked to make the play of the game.
Williams caught a 44-yard pass on fourth-and-15 down to the 1-yard-line with 1 minute, 44 seconds left that set up a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Marcus Johnson. That sealed a 12-3 victory for the sixth-ranked Lincoln High School football team against Wilson on Friday at Stadium Bowl.
“We were going to punt it, but Coach (Jon Kitna) looked at me and said, ‘We need to get you a ball. We are going to throw it up to you. Go get it,’ ” said Williams, who caught eight passes for 138 yards. “I went and got it.”
Lincoln (8-0, 6-0 3A Narrows) secured at least a share of the 3A Narrows title with the victory, becoming the first Tacoma metro team to do so in back-to-back seasons since Mount Tahoma in 1979 and ’80.
But the Abes certainly didn’t play like the explosive team they had been all season, entering Friday averaging 56.4 points — the most of any team Class 1A or higher.
They were held to a season-low 12 points, with the final touchdown coming in the final minutes. Kitna said they were missing more than 10 players due to their team standard of academic eligibility (grade C or higher).
“We have a standard,” Kitna said. “We played seven freshmen. I don’t care how big the game is, who we are playing, or what the ramifications are — if our guys aren’t getting it done in the classroom, in the community or the school, we are going to sit them.
“People used to always say about Lincoln High School, ‘Don’t worry, just wait until the grade checks. Well, we aren’t going to do that.”
Junior quarterback Jordan Kitna finished 16 of 23 for 216 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice and was sacked by Wilson defensive end Billy Greer four times.
That led to a lot of opportunities for Wilson.
The Rams (6-2, 3-2) struck first, with TJ Hazen recovering a fumble inside the 10 to lead to a 20-yard field goal from Alex Greenleaf.
The Abes charged down the field and scored its first touchdown — a nine-yard pass from Kitna to Tony Archie, who stunningly got one foot in bounds for the score. (Kitna was sacked on the 2-point conversion attempt.)
Wilson charged to the 6 in the third quarter after Kitna threw an interception on the first play of the second half. But Julius Yates-Brown couldn’t handle the first-down snap and Lincoln recovered.
But another opportunity: Wilson looked to tie, going for a 19-yard field goal late in the third quarter, but it was tipped and fell short.
“Our defense played unbelievable,” Wilson coach Don Clegg said. “The kids couldn’t have played better defensively.
“Our kids just pressed so hard to win that we were out of sync. The kids wanted to win so bad that they did things out of the ordinary and I think that impacted the game.”
Wilson was held to 152 yards of total offense and threw three interceptions.
“Our defense, it’s one of the best in the state,” said Lincoln linebacker Justiss Warren, who missed the entire second half after cramping up in the first half. “It’s always been.”
Both teams paid tribute to the Marysville community with about a 20-second moment of silence before the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Two were killed and four wounded in a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School earlier in the day.