Lincoln scored first against defending Class 4A state runner-up Lake Stevens in the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead. That was the last time the Abes would lead in Friday night’s much-anticipated 3A/4A non-league matchup at Lincoln Bowl.
That’s not to say Lincoln (0-2 overall) played poorly — the Abes were in the game until the end, drawing within a point late in the third quarter. But Lake Stevens (2-0) was always just one step ahead, escaping Tacoma with a 35-26 win.
“(Lake Stevens) played a good game,” said Lincoln’s do it-all-star Julien Simon, who played receiver, defensive back, and even lined up at running back in the Wildcat package for the Abes in the loss. “We have to do a better job of executing. They out-executed us. Our game plan was there but we didn’t execute it very well.”
Lincoln was especially hurt by penalties in the second half, with holding penalties stalling offensive drives and pass interference penalties giving Lake Stevens new life.
“That killed us,” Simon said. “It should’ve been a closer game. We have to do a better job of trying to stop all the penalties and just play football and not get so many ticky-tack holdings. That’s such small stuff that we have to fix. We just have to get better.”
Lincoln played Lake Stevens last season, also, dropping a 38-21 decision. This time around, things were closer.
“It was definitely more of a competitive game, for sure,” said Lincoln coach Masaki Matsumoto. “We were in it until the last five minutes. Last year, it was 38-21 but that last touchdown was against their (second string). So it was 38-14 with really no chance. Again, I told our players, I feel really good about our team, even after our Camas loss. Today, again, I feel like that point was proven. We just have to do some things better.”
Lincoln quarterback Caden Filer completed 18-of-32 passes for 237 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Simon racked up a game-high 84 yards receiving on seven catches with a touchdown, also tallying 20 yards rushing on four carries and a touchdown. Lincoln running back Majesty Irving tallied 46 yards on 12 carries for the Abes.
For Lake Stevens, junior quarterback Tanner Jellison completed 14-of-21 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Senior Dallas Landeros was a force on the ground, rushing 21 times for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Lincoln’s two-game non-league schedule was as tough as any team’s in the state, with 4A powers Camas and Lake Stevens in back-to-back weeks. While both ended in losses for the Abes, there’s a sense that Lincoln is right on the cusp of something great.
“It’s going to be up to us coaches and the players to respond,” Matsumoto said. “That’s why we play these teams. They definitely show us what we need to do better. The kids have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Simon said the Abes should be good preparation for the type of competition Lincoln will see in the postseason.
“I can’t emphasize it enough, we want to grow from it,” he said. “That’s all I can really take away from it. Obviously, I don’t like the end results, but the only thing I can take away from it is growth.”