Great Lincoln Cardinal Team Takes Second Place In State For Second Year In A Row

Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
By Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
It was 47 degrees, clear and sunny with the wind blowing from the south at six miles per hour. It was a great day for a December state championship football game. The temperature would drop after half time, but the game would heat up as Valle Catholic would come from behind to beat Lincoln for the Class 1 state championship in Columbia.
Lincoln, with an enrolment of 107 students, would take it to the 15 time state champions from the start. Lincoln would win the toss and chose to receive the football. Kolton Naeger would launch the kickoff to the four. Bo Kroenke would run the ball back to the Lincoln 32. After an 11 play drive, Lincoln's Quarterback Jackson Beaman would race around the left side for 24 yards and the touchdown at the seven minute mark. Devon Parrott would rip the PAT and it 7-0.
Then it was Valle's turn, and they were equal to the task. Valle would start at their 33. Quarterback Brian Dunlap  would put together a nine play drive in a little over three minutes for the tying TD. A  23 yard pass to the tall, lanky Aiden Heberie  found pay dirt in the end zone. Naeger's kick was good and it was 7-7.
Once again, Naeger would drive the ball deep. Kroenke would return from the four to be tackled at the 19 by a good Valle rushing attack.
Lincoln would go four and out and Valle would take over after Parrott's punt on their own 43 yard line. Valle would go to their play book as Owen Viox, on a toss from Dunlap, would complete a pass to Drew. Baumen for 26 yards. Dunlap would find an wide open Viox standing right at the end zone line for 14 yards and the TD at the 2:35 mark. Naeger nailed the kick and it was 14-7. Lincoln was behind for only for the third time all season. They tailed Windsor 14-13 and Cole Camp 7-0.
In the second quarter, on fourth and four, Lincoln's Gabe Mehrens would stop Colin Grass for a two yard gain and Lincoln would take over on downs.
A fired up Jackson Beaman, would break a run for 30 yards. He would then hit Parker Engles for 26 yards on one of the best catches of the day. Parker Engles would later take it to the three. Beaman would rip the left side for the TD at the 7:21 mark.
Parrott's kick was good. It was 14-14.
Then it was time for Bo Kroenke to make his presence known in a big way. The senior would pick off Dunlap in a crowd of receivers at the Lincoln three yard line. Kroenke wouldn't go down, in typical Kroenke fashion, and would race for 31 yards to the 34.
It took Lincoln around a minute to score as Beaman hit Nate Hesse with a 34 yard bomb to move the ball down field on fourth and four. On fourth and five, Valle was called for encroachment, giving Lincoln the first down. Beaman would race in with 13 seconds left for the TD. Parrott was perfect and it was 21-14 at half. 
The third quarter started with perhaps the biggest play of the game as Lincoln's All-State lineman would injure his knee and come out of the game. Valle's Head coach Judd Naeger commented in the post game interview, "I would be lying if I said that didn't help us."
Valle had ran away from Bays in the first half. A very downcast Bays would stand on crutches with an ice pack on his knee for the rest of the contest. He didn't play in last year's game, so this was even more disappointing. LaFavor and Jackson Beaman both called him the best player on the team earlier in the season.
The second half was a battle for the ages. Valle went to work and scored in less than a minute as Cory Stoll would fly in from nine yards for the TD. The kick was good and it was tied at 21.
Lincoln would go four and out. Valle would start at the Lincoln 48 and nine plays later would score on a four yard run from Jayden Geeg.
The kick made it 27-21 at the 5:23 mark on the clock.
The third quarter would end with Valle ahead 27-21.
In the fourth, Valle would kick a 26 yard field goal and it was 30-221 and things looked bad for the Cardinals. Championship teams usually have kickers and Valle certainly had a good one.
Jackson Beaman would tell his team that they had to score and score quick and they did. In a minute and 14 seconds, the Cardinals had to march down the field 80 thanks to a kickoff in the end zone from Valle. Beaman would find super freshman Connor Lynde for 22 yards and the score. The PAT was blocked and it was 30-27.
Lincoln would use their three time outs, but a Dunlap rush for a first down ended matters.
Lincoln Head Coach Kevin LaFavor commented, "I am very proud of our team and our seven seniors. Without them, we wouldn't be here."
Beaman was 18-103 rushing and 15-27 for 212 yards passing. Joe Bittner was 4-66 yards receiving. Lynde 4-48. Engles 3-39. Hesse 2-40 and Kroenke 2-19. Kroenke was keyed on all game by the Valle receivers.
Most of the other championship games were lopsided. The Lincoln-Valle game stole the show. Congratulations to Lincoln for a great season once again.
We will have a complete recap of Lincoln's outstanding season next week with interviews, team stats and a lot more. Don't dare miss it.