By Taron Jordan The Lincoln Lions lose serious momentum for the CIAA championship after a loss to the Bowie State Bulldogs, 22-10. The Lions committed two game-changing turnovers in the second half that put the game out of reach as they were mounting a serious comeback.
“We made a few mistakes we hadn’t made in the past,” Lions head coach O.J. Abanishe said. “Bowie came out in a totally new scheme. They usually run a spread offense, but they came out in the I-formation. We can tell they wanted to keep our offense off the field, and they did that. We have to do a better job of stopping the run, and taking advantage of turnovers.
“They (Bowie State) had the ball for 22 minutes to our eight minutes in the first half. We made adjustments in the second half. Our first drive, we came out like we usually do and scored, but an uncharacteristic turnover from Doug (Cook, quarterback #7) and Gerald (Swain, runningback #21) on the next two drives hurt us. We told them at the half we must take advantage of every opportunity.”
True freshman Doug Cook continues a strong season as he went 15-for-28 for 163 yards. He also had eight carries for 26 yards and a touchdown, but committed a costly interception in the third quarter, which stopped a drive deep in Bulldogs territory. Ivan Mitchell #14, led all receivers with five catches and 32 yards. Anthony Wilson #88, hauled in two catches for a game- high 48 yards. Leading CIAA receivers Matthew Coston #2, and Phillip Jean-Juste #5, had only three catches for 19 yards between themselves.
Leading the lions rushing attack was Gerald Swain, nine carries for 40 yards. But the next drive after Cook’s interception, Swain fumbled the ball at the Bulldogs 30-yard line.
The Lions defense, on the field for most of the first half was able to keep the Lions in the game with their typical hard-nose play. Even with a Bowie’s unusual game scheme, the Lions defense was able to adapt and contain the Bulldogs. Daron Jones #20, and Brandon McElwee #8, paced the defense with 19 tackles apiece. Jones and McElwee halved four tackles for loss also. With the monster game, McElwee was awarded CIAA linebacker of the week honors for the first time this season.
“We feel like the score really doesn’t show what we did today,” McElwee said. “We don’t feel the short week hurt us because we don’t have a practice field and it rained all week. It’s all about focus. I won’t be able to sleep tonight after a tough loss like this.”
For the bulldogs, Tariq Jones rushed for a career-high 171 yards on 33 carries. As a team, the Bulldogs compiled 363 yards of total offense, 305 via the ground. The Bulldogs also doubled the total plays from scrimmage with 82 compared to 47 for the Lions.
Next game for the Lions will be on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Avon Grove High School against Virginia State. Kickoff is scheduled for noon. The Lions will be celebrating Senior Day, and ask for all students to come out and support.