Four turnovers early in a Tri-City Athletic League football game is usually not a good sign.
Lodi found that out the hard way as Lincoln stayed undefeated with a 63-6 victory in the league opener for both teams at the Grape Bowl on Friday. The Trojans led 49-0 at halftime, and game officials called for a running clock the entire second half.
“That is a very good team,” said Lodi coach George Duenas, looking at the north side of the Grape Bowl at Lincoln celebrating its league win. “Four turnovers to start off the game against a team like that, it’s going to get ugly fast.”
After Lodi gained a total of two yards on its first offensive possession of the game, Lincoln wasted little time on scoring on its first offensive possession for a 7-0 lead. On the first play of scrimmage, Trojan running back Jonah Coleman scored one of his four touchdowns in the game on a 37-yard counter play in which he raced past the Flames’ defensive line and fought off Lodi linebackers and the secondary to the west end zone with 10:31 left on the clock. Bernadino Galindo was good for all of the Trojans’ extra-points throughout the game.
A Lodi interception set up the Trojans’ next score, and led to an ejection of a Lodi player. Lodi quarterback Adam Schallberger, sitting in the pocket then moving, looked for a receiver. But Lincoln cornerback Valentino Yarbrough picked off Schallberger’s pass and started running toward the Trojans’ end zone.
But Lodi receiver Logan Stout tackled Yarbrough by picking him up and drove him to the ground. Yarbrough stayed on the turf for more than three minutes but got up on his own will power and walked back to the Trojans’ sidelines.
Yellow flags flew in from all directions. The Flames were called for unnecessary roughness, and Stout was ejected only 9:51 into the game.
Per the Sac-Joaquin Section bylaws, if a high school student-athlete is ejected from a contest, he/she must serve an automatic one game suspension. If the suspension, which Lodi (0-1 in the TCAL, 4-2) is looking into appealing, stands, Stout, a three-year starter who plays quarterback, wide receiver and safety, would sit out next Friday’s TCAL game at St. Mary’s.
“That wasn’t worthy of an ejection,” Duenas said. “There were some nasty hits throughout the night.”
Coleman scored the next two touchdowns to give Lincoln (1-0 in the TCAL, 6-0) a 21-0 lead, still in the first quarter. That touchdown came thanks to the Trojans recovering a Lodi fumble on the kickoff return.
The next two scores were on 21-yard runs, each. Lincoln quarterback Kenyon Nelson, only a freshman, scored on a 51-yard run to make it 28-0.
“That’s a high-caliber playoff team,” said Duenas of Lincoln. “They’ve got some dudes, man.”
Nelson had a say on the Trojans’ next three touchdowns in the second quarter for the 49-0 halftime lead, with two scores coming off two more Lodi turnovers; a fumble and loss of downs.
“Going in, we thought we’d have a chance because they are younger,” said Duenas, as the Trojans have eight sophomores and freshmen on the team. “That is the scary thing.”
After running back Jaylen Balcksher scored on a 1-yard run with 7:58 left in the quarter for a 35-0 score, Nelson hit Coleman on a 20-yard screen pass to make it 42-0. Coleman found Fidel Pitts alone in the end zone on a 33-yard pass with 2:14 left in the quarter to make it 49-0.
Lincoln upped its lead to 56-0 at 9:50 in the third quarter when running back Maceo Frisco scored on a 38-yard.
Lodi, which had crossed over into Lincoln territory only twice out of seven possessions in the first half, found the end zone for its only score of the game at 2:47 in the third quarter to make it 56-6. Schallberger faked a hand-off to running back Jose Bravo, swung to the right side of his offensive line on a 1-yard score. The Flames’ extra-point kick missed.
The Trojans tacked on their final touchdown only 21 seconds into the fourth quarter when Frisco found the end zone on a 38-yard run.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.