MAIDEN — The North Lincoln Knights fell to the Maiden Blue Devils 28-7 in nonconference play on Friday.
The Blue Devils dominated the scoreboard during the first half, scoring four touchdowns and leading the Knights 28-0 before halftime. Maiden quarterback Jake McRee opened up the second quarter with a touchdown in less than a minute, stunning the Knights.
Maiden senior running back Grant Yowe made things difficult for the Knights’ defense, leading the offense with 130 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
In response to the second touchdown by Maiden, the Knights gained momentum, as sophomore running back Richard Jackson moved the ball 18 yards, with a reverse play to follow that brought North Lincoln to midfield and in strong position to score. However, a fumble, though recovered by the Knights, forced them to punt and slowed their momentum.
“I think we took a couple steps back from last week, especially the offense,” North Lincoln head coach David Maness said. “But we can’t constantly see what we’re doing that’s wrong; we did kick the ball much better this week.”
Maness tried out a new kicker at Friday’s game, senior Paul Reagan. The coach was happy with his performance, and thought the team turned things around in the second half. During halftime, he stressed to his team to not give up and “play until the whistle blows.” When things seemed to start going downhill for the Knights, it seemed like they were starting to quit, he said.
Stronger defense and a more confident North Lincoln team emerged in the second half, as the Knights held Maiden on the opening drive, and continued to stop the Blue Devils from scoring the rest of the game. Maiden was forced to punt, and during the Knights’ kick return, the Blue Devils gave up two personal fouls — a face mask and a late-hit out of bounds — giving the Knights great field position.
On the third down, a roughing-the-passer penalty brought the Knights back to a first down, putting them 15 yards closer to a touchdown. Four personal fouls on the same drive from Maiden brought Knights’ quarterback Cory Blake into the end zone, where he scored the team’s first touchdown in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils remained at 28 points the rest of the night, while the Knights were unable to chip away at the 21-point lead of their opponents. The loss marked North Lincoln’s second of the season so far.
Maness said he will continue to work on improving on the strengths of his team and focusing on the positives as well as the not-so-good moments of Friday’s game. With only one senior on his offensive line and four under classmen, he hopes to mold the offense into a stronger unit over upcoming seasons.