Off the rails: Defensive miscues doom Lincoln in loss to Curtis

Off the rails: Defensive miscues doom Lincoln in loss to Curtis
Photo by Jon Farina

It all fell apart in the end.

The Lincoln football team couldn’t hold its lead against Curtis on Oct. 14, giving up a late-game touchdown to drop a 32–28 loss in Public Schools Athletic League City Conference play. Kwannah Kollie lifted the Warriors to victory on a broken Railsplitters defensive play, dancing through the Lincoln (4–2) secondary to find the end zone with 1:32 left in regulation.

Defensive collapse was a trend for the Railsplitters — and its undoing.

“I give credit to Curtis — the quarterback did a really good job of scrambling,” said Lincoln coach Shawn O’Connor. “We came out of coverage too in the secondary. We’ve got to be a little bit more disciplined.”

The Railsplitters got on the board first, sparked by Naim Coakley’s dominant presence out of the backfield. The senior running back — who racked up 97 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the night — was a force to be reckoned with early on.

Our offensive line is great,” said Coakley, whose first touchdown came on a 61-yard screen play. “They just open up everything for me.”

Curtis (6–0), however, had an answer for everything the Railsplitters did — sometimes even what Lincoln didn’t do. The Warriors jumped out to a 14–8 lead with just over three minutes in the first half, taking advantage of the Railsplitters defensive miscues and refusing to go down on first contact.

Tyson Lawton racked up 149 rushing yards of his own, while quarterback Quincy Barnes’s 275 all-purpose yards, consistently sliding out of tackles and making something out of nothing.

“The kids did a great job of getting to them and pressuring them, but we’ve got to do a better job of finishing and staying in the coverage,” O’Connor said. “We can’t be undisciplined.”

Lincoln seized back control just before the break — taking a two-point lead at halftime after Terrell Wallace’s 21-yard touchdown reception — and the Railsplitters padded the lead in the opening minutes of the third.

Curtis answered once again, notching two touchdowns late in the third quarter, but the Railsplitters defense settled into a rhythm down the stretch.

Javari Matthews picked off Barnes on the second play of the fourth quarter — setting up Coakley’s third touchdown of the game to give Lincoln a two-point cushion with 10 minutes left to play. The Railsplitters followed up with a big-time, fourth-and-one stand on the seven-yard line, but the offense couldn’t add anymore to the scoreboard.

The Warriors final drive began on the 50-yard line and it took just four plays for Curtis to find the end zone, where Kollie kept his feet in bounds on a 26-yard reception. Lincoln had a chance to respond, but a holding call stalled the drive before the team could get down the field.

The game was disappointing, but the Railsplitters took solace in the fact that the squad ahs only lost to the league’s undefeated teams — Curtis and Erasmus Hall. Now, it’s time to get into the film room, fix the mistakes, and make sure things don’t break down next game.

“We’re going to come out hard against any team,” Coakley said. “Next week is another game, and everything is going to be great. No more losses.”