The East Lincoln Mustangs fell to the South Point Red Raiders 47-14 Friday night. The Red Raiders did not run as many offensive plays as the Mustangs, but with Josh Robinson in the mix they didnâ€™t need to.
Robinson led the Red Raiders to their sixth straight Big South 3A Conference crown with 340 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns.
Head coach Matt Rikard was awed by Robinsonâ€™s speed.
â€œHe did a great job. Heâ€™s one of the fastest, if not the fastest back, weâ€™ve seen all year,â€ he said.
The Mustangs played without three starters (a starting wide receiver, running back and defensive back) who opted to not attend practice last Tuesday.
In a year where East Lincoln posted a final record of 2-9, 1-6 in the Big South 3A, Rikard believed their win/loss record didnâ€™t tell the full story.
â€œIn life, victories arenâ€™t always measured on the scoreboard. Sometimes victories are measured on whether or not you pick yourself up. They never gave up all season,â€ he said.
Rikard plans on returning to the Mustangs as the head coach in 2005.
â€œAs far as I know Iâ€™ll be back. I plan on coming back. Weâ€™ve got a good situation as far as the conference weâ€™re going into. I knew it was going to take two or three years to rebound from the split of the schools (North and East),â€ he said.
Turnovers meant the difference in winning two or three more games in Rikardâ€™s estimation.
â€œWe had massive numbers of turnovers every game. Itâ€™s not like we were having one or two, we were having five or six.â€
Bright spots in the Mustangsâ€™ season finale was Carlos Marquez-Sykes who returned a fumble 16 yards for a score and Xavier Alexander who reeled in two passes for 49 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown.
Next season marks a new beginning for East Lincoln who will be in the conference that will feature all four Lincoln Co. schools.
â€œEverybody is excited about the new conference. Weâ€™ll feel like weâ€™ll be on a level-playing field for the first time in two years as far as our conference opponents. These kids, especially the seniors, were dealt a bad hand having to compete against schools that have 1, 500 kids when we only have 830,â€ Rikard said.
by John Mark Brooks