Despite the sixth-ranked Lincoln High School football team’s 31-14 loss to seventh-ranked O’Dea, coach Masaki Matsumoto said he learned his team can play with anybody.
That is, if it can avoid turning the ball over three times against a perennial state playoff contender.
O’Dea ate away clock with its ground game, using eight running backs to rush for 326 yards in typical Monte Kohler fashion, and shut out the Abes’ offense in the second half to roll to the nonleague victory on Friday at West Seattle Stadium.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime. Matsumoto was at a loss for words on what changed in the second half.
“I don’t know … I mean, I don’t know,” said Matsumoto, who hoped he had given his Abes the spark to push them when he had Lincoln grad and former UW and NFL safety Lawyer Milloy talk to the team at its Thursday practice.
“I felt like, except for the end, we stayed with a pretty good team and we shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” Matsumoto said. “If we play like we can and mistake free, we can play with the best.”
Friday’s loss marked two consecutive defeats for Lincoln, dating back to its 3A state playoff loss to Bonney Lake last season.
This loss was in similar fashion, with O’Dea pounding the Abes in the run game. Jamyn Patu gained 148 yards on 15 carries, including the dagger touchdown on an 18-yard run with 2 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
The run came three plays after Abes quarterback Joey Sinclair fumbled at the Lincoln 22.
Sinclair, the Abes’ returning senior quarterback, threw two interceptions. He finished 10 of 20 passing for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
“We just need to execute a little more, and I’ve got to be able to go through my reads,” Sinclair said. “We just shot ourselves in the foot.”
Lincoln took a 6-0 lead when Sinclair found Camron Deloney on fourth-and-13 for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
O’Dea answered, but Sinclair hit Ethan Gunsauls on the following drive for a 23-yard touchdown before finding Brandin Porter for the two-point conversion.
O’Dea responded one more time to tie it at 14-all when Sam Sanchez fully extended his left hand and somehow caught a Ben Beale pass for a 14-yard score. If incomplete, it would have set up fourth down.
Then the Fighting Irish of the 3A Metro League took over in the second half. Sinclair had 17 passing yards in the second half. Lincoln’s Tristan Kwon had 15 carries for 112 yards, but 97 of those came in the first half.
“We just got more into the feel of the game in the second half,” said Kohler, who has helped O’Dea reach the 3A state playoffs 31 times in its history.
“They’re a good football team,” he said of the Abes. “Their quarterback is pretty special. They’re going to win some football games.
The last time these two teams played — Jon Kitna earned the final win of his three-year Lincoln coaching tenure, beating that Myles Gaskin-led Irish team, and the Abes advanced to the 3A state quarterfinals.
Lincoln senior lineman Quazzel White said he’s looking forward to a rematch.
“We’ll see them in the playoffs,” White said. “And we’ll be ready by then.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
L – Camron Deloney 18 pass from Joey Sinclair (kick fails)
O – Connor Gregoire 14 run (Stephen Powell kick)
L – Ethan Gunsauls 23 pass from Joey Sinclair (Brandin Porter pass from Sinclair)
O – Sam Sanchez 14 pass from Ben Beale (Powell kick)
O – Fredrick Cooper 2 run (Powell kick)
O – Powell 35 field goal
O – Jamyn Patu 18 run (Powell kick)
RUSHING – L: Tristan Kwon 15-112; Joey Sinclair 9-30. O: Jamyn Patu 15-148, Mark Tafia 6-69; Connor Gregoire 5-62
PASSING – L: Joey Sinclair 10-20-2-71. O: Ben Beale 4-10-1-25.
RECEIVING – L: Deloney Camron 6-50; Ethan Gunsauls 3-32. O: Sam Sanchez 1-14.