By T. Scott Boatright
Lincoln Preparatory School went into Thursday night’s game against River Oaks at Cedar Creek’s Cougars Stadium on a mission to try and keep their playoff hopes alive.
A sluggish start turned into a second-quarter sprint for the Panthers as they raced to a 34-8 Homecoming win over the Mustangs to snap a five-game losing skid.
“Brandon Heard made things noisy real quick — he can score from anywhere on the field,” said Lincoln Prep coach Glen Hall. “He kind of got us going and everybody else just started going along with him.”
Heard scored his first touchdown on a screen pass reception and added a second TD running from the quarterback position.
“He actually ran another one in, too, but they called that one back on penalty,” Hall said.
Heard’s heroics broke open a scoreless game after one quarter and the Panthers (3-5 overall, 1-2 in District 2-1A) jumped out to a 22-8 halftime advantage.
“We actually had another chance to score in the second quarter but blew that opportunity,” Hall said. “Then we came out and scored late in the third quarter and added another in the fourth.”
Heard ran in a third quarter score and then hit paydirt on a naked quarterback bootleg to wrap scoring for the Panthers.
“And again we had another chance to score and end the game early but we didn’t make that happen,” Hall said. “So we still have some work to do. But getting this win was big. It was important.”
Hall went into the contest with a defensive game plan that worked to perfection for the Panthers.
“We knew we had to stop the dive,” Hall said. “That’s River Oaks’ bread and butter. So, we knew if we could do that, we should have a good chance. And we went out there and shut down their dive and they didn’t respond. We knew we had to shut down what they do best.”
“River Oaks played hard. That’s one of the few schools that has less players than we do. They played hard, but we played hard, too, and went out there and played the whole game and earned the win.”
Hall said the Mustangs’ score came on a fluke play.
“Our guy — Lil’ (Jamarion Buggs) — made a good play on the ball and looked like he had an interception,” Hall said. “But it bounced up out of hands and bounced into Chauncy Harper’s hands. Then it bounced out of his hands and their receiver grabbed it.”
The Panther known as “Big Buggs” — Jamarion’s twin Jamarius — also battled back from injury to play a key role against the Mustangs.
“We put him back at fullback for the first time in a while and called some traps for him and he broke some big runs,” Hall said. “He’s not limping anymore, thank the Lord. I’ve been needing him to get well.”
“I think we can build off of this — I really think so,” said Hall, who once served as defensive backs coach for Grambling under the legendary Eddie G. Robinson. “When people used to say it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, Coach Rob would tell them they’ve never won before.
“After these guys finally won again, I think we can gain some momentum and get that extra day of rest and go out there next Friday and have a decent chance against Cedar Creek. We just have to build on this win.”
There’s something else Hall plans to build on.
Earlier Thursday after school ended Hall had his team watch the football movie “The Program” together as a team bonding experience.
And as a true follower of Coach Rob, Hall said his Panthers will be watching a football movie again next week.
“I’m like the ‘Old Man,’ he’d say once you do one thing and it works, you’ve got to keep on doing it. He wore the same suit every game one season. We’ll do it again. We’re on a one-game streak and need to make it two.”
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