By T. Scott Boatright
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
Lincoln Preparatory School got knocked down in its regular season contest against Haynesville, falling to the Golden Tornado 43-12 in a District 1-1A showdown.
Now the 11th-seeded Panthers get a second chance as they face sixth-seeded Haynesville in a second-round Class 1A playoff game set to start at 7 p.m. Friday at “Red Franklin Stadium.”
Lincoln Prep stayed close early on in that game, trailing only 6-0 at the end of the first quarter before Haynesville stretched that advantage to 26-12 at halftime.
“They opened it up midway through the second quarter and we could just never get back into it,” said Lincoln Prep head coach Glen Hall. “But we came out of the game knowing we could have won it. We just let it get away from us. We can’t let that happen this time.”
Hall said he doesn’t expect anything different from the Golden Tornado this time.
“Haynesville is going to run the ball right at you,” he said. “That’s what they do. What we need to do is focus and play hard for the whole game. The whole 48 minutes.”
Lincoln Prep enters the game with some confidence after ripping Delhi 46-6 in first-round playoff action last week.
“The players have responded well in practice this week,” Hall said. “They’re focused. They’re watching film on Haynesville. They’re doing all the little things and are determined to make a better showing this time around. We feel we still have a lot of football in front of us. We just have to take care of business on Friday.”
Senior quarterback Ta’Rell Simmons played a big role for the Panthers both in the first game against Haynesville and last week against Delhi.
Simmons completed 12-of-26 passes for 209 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the first game against Haynesville in Week 8 before adding 153 yards and three scores on eight-of-13 passing last week against Delhi.
Dmitry Payne also played a big role in both games, catching six passes for 173 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, while adding six kick returns for 207 yards, including a 91-yard score against Haynesville while adding five catches for 111 yards and three scores along with a 16-yard run and a 63-yard kick return for TD last week against Delhi.
“Those are our spark plugs,” Hall said. “We’ll need both of them to be clicking if we want to have a chance against Haynesville.”
The regular season game against Haynesville was ended by referees with 10 minutes left in the fourth after a near brawl that emptied both benches onto the field and Golden Tornado coach David Franklin being ejected.
Hall said that has nothing to do with what will happen Friday.
“That was just one of those things with two teams playing hard and it just got a little out of hand,” Hall said. “I’m not worried at all about that. This time I’m only focused on what’s ahead of us.
“What happened last game against Haynesville doesn’t matter. What happened last week against Delhi doesn’t matter. All we have to think about and focus on is this week against Haynesville. Last week’s win won’t mean much at all if we can’t win Friday.”
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