STOCKTON, Calif. - Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
football coach Mike Alberghini said it was like a big giant boulder rolling down hill.
"Once it started, nothing was going to slow it down," he said.
Alberghini was talking about host Lincoln's
six-touchdown second-half onslaught on Saturday afternoon but he could have easily been referring to an injury bug that has rolled over and decimated his squad.
Without All-American athlete Shaq Thompson
(deep thigh bruise), starting quarterback (Terry Shine
) and six other starters, Grant was no match for a big, fast and talented Lincoln team that rolled up a 56-20 nonleague victory.
Eric Dickerson-lookalike Justin Davis
, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior running back, did most of the damage for the Trojans (4-0), coming off a huge 50-49 double-overtime win over then nationally-ranked Pleasant Grove, with 20 carries for 250 yards and four touchdowns.
Following a sloppy first half, Lincoln exerted its physical will and brawn, driving 80, 53, 93, 52 and 43 yards for touchdowns, two by bruising 6-1, 235-pound back
(13 carries, 86 yards), and another from 5-10, 205-pound fullback Leon Rapisura
All told, the Trojans piled up 314 second-half yards and 473 total to turn the tables on the reeling Pacers (2-2), who swamped Lincoln last season by the exact same score.
The Trojans also received an 80-yard interception return for touchdown by junior safety Christian Valeros
"It feels so much better to be on the other side of that score," said the soft-spoken Davis, who scored on runs of 20, 6, 36 and 88 yards. "The win (over Pleasant Grove) really gave us the confidence to beat a team like Grant."
This isn't exactly the Grant team that has been in the national rankings the last three seasons, or the even the inexperienced one that started the season full of promise.
Thompson, who led the team to an impressive 43-16 opening-day win over Folsom but then hurt his thigh during a 24-23 loss to Long Beach Poly, practiced all week and was penciled in to replace Shine, who broke a bone in his throwing hand last week.
But Alberghini said he got a call late Friday afternoon - he wouldn't say from whom - saying Thompson wouldn't be able to go. He obliged.
That forced Alberghini to go to Isaiah Rios, a promising 6-1 junior quarterback who just became eligible this week. Rios, athletic and strong-armed, hadn't taken a snap in a game since his freshman season.
It showed early on.
He fumbled three snaps, the Pacers missed the snap count six times and were flagged for penalties.
"It was sort of a mess," Alberghini said. "But what do you expect? ... That's a very good team (Lincoln), but they're not a 56-20 better team. That's not making excuses - we just got beat...We're young and we're injured and we have to learn to survive before we can play well."
The Pacers were more than alive by the end of a crazy first half.
Lincoln kept shooting itself in the foot with bad punt snaps and a pair of interceptions and eventually, Grant, especially Rios, took advantage.
He connected on three touchdown passes, the final two of 27 and 47 yards to an absolutely wide open Lychauan Jones
, to take a rather stunning 20-14 halftime lead.
"Yes, I'd say we were surprised," Alberghini said. "If we would have stopped the game at halftime, we would have been heroes."
Said Lincoln coach Brian Gray: "We just needed to settle down and refocus. There was really nothing more to it than that. It was a big game for our guys and sometimes in big games, guys want to do too much. We just went out in the second half and played."
After gaining no yards on the first two plays, 6-1, 175-pound junior Lincoln quarterback Zack Greenlee
(8 of 19, 155 yards) made his best throw of the day, a 46-yard strike to Andrew Truax
. On the next play, Davis burst straight up the middle and outran the fleet but depleted linebacker and secondary crew for a 36-yard touchdown.
That gave the Trojans back the lead 21-20.
"We made adjustments and paid attention to detail," Davis said of the second-half surge. "I guess they were banged up and were missing guys but we just had to play against who they had out there. We did a pretty good job I think. Especially the second half."
Davis went down on the next possession with a cramp and Lincoln went strictly power. Bones did all the work, carrying the last four times for 20 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown, making it 28-20 Lincoln.
"Brute strength," Alberghini said. "They have some big physical kids up front."
It was sheer athleticism the next drive when Davis darted through a big hole up the middle, made a beautiful cut to the Grant sideline and sprinted 60 yards down field before he was caught by two Grant safeties. He downshifted shortly, then sped back up and beat them both to the end zone completing the 88-yard TD.
"They got a grasp of me and I thought I was going down," Davis said. "But the grasp got a little looser, so I took off again."
From there, the Lincoln rout was on.
The Trojans made sure not to rub it in though. They know it's a distinct possibility the two teams could face off again in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
"I don't think anyone wants to play them once they get healthy," Gray said. "Grant is the real deal. They're athletic, fast and physical. I don't care who they roll out, they're always good."
But right now, at this very moment, Lincoln is the class of the SJS and one of the best in Northern California. They were ranked No. 33 in the state coming in and will likely leap forward.
"It's a special group and they just have to keep getting better every day," Gray said. "We're enjoying this one day at a time. Today was very special."
Especially the second half.Lincoln 56, Grant 20
Grant 0 20 0 0 - 20
Lincoln 7 7 28 14 - 56First quarter
L - Justin Davis 10 run (Kristian Ayala kick), 4:43Second quarter
G - Isaiah Adams 9 pass from Isaiah Rios (run failed), 11:55
L - Davis 6 run (Ayala kick), 6:31
G - Lychaun Jones 27 pass from Rios (Charlie Vue kick), 1:47
G - Jones 47 pass from Rios (Vue kick), 0:42Third quarter
L - Davis 36 run (Ayala kick), 10:20
L - JoJo Bones 3 run (Ayala kick), 7:27
L - Davis 88 run (Ayala kick), 6:36
L - Christian Valeros 80 interception return (Ayala kick), 4:04Fourth quarter
L - Leon Rapisura 6 run (Ayala kick), 9:17
L - Bones 1 run (Ayala kick) 4:04 STATISTICSRushing
G - Todd Johnson 8-54, Adams 6-44, Adams 1-30, Henderson 1-20, Rios 8-6, Lo 1-2. Totals 26-156. L - Davis 20-250, Bones 13-86, Devan Barkley 1-20, Rapisura 1-6, Zack Greenlee 2-(-10), team 1-(-34). Totals 38-318. Passing
G - Rios 6-12-1-100. L - Greenlee 8-19-18-2-155. Receiving
G - Jones 4-83, Adams 2-17. L - Barkley 5-88, Truax 2-62, Washington 1-5. Total yards:
Grant 256, Lincoln 473. Records:
Lincoln 4-0, Grant 2-2.