Football: Lincoln shaded late by ECSU

Lincoln’s Tyahir Mitchell follows Gavin Lumpkin down the sideline en route to a 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter against Elizabeth City State on Saturday.

LOWER OXFORD >> It wasn’t have been the prettiest game of football when Lincoln hosted Elizabeth City State for homecoming Saturday. Both teams tended to hurt themselves with mistakes. But in the end, the only thing that really matters is who has the most points on the scoreboard.

Petey Boone bulled his way into the end zone from two-yards out with 5:31 to play to give the Vikings a 27-26 victory.

“Our coaches did a good job of preparing our team,” said Lincoln coach Ramon Flanigan. “The guys fought hard and played together as a team. In close games, it is the team that makes the fewest mistakes that wins and today we made too many mistakes at critical times.”

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, a 13-yard scamper from Boone, and then again just before the end of the period on a two-yard rush up the middle by Kenny King.

King led all rushers on the afternoon, rolling up 161 yards on 52 carries. ECSU (2-2, 3-4) totaled 288 yards on the ground for the game.

The Lions finally got on the board early in the second period. With the Vikings pinned down, quarterback Will Boyette looked to pass his way out from the end zone, but it was tipped and an alert Wadel Louis dove and scooped it up just before it hit the ground for the interception and touchdown.

Then Lincoln (0-4, 1-6) began to develop a running game of its own, behind quarterback Edward McKenzie (18 carries, 113 yards) and running back Stephen Scott (18-87). Scott found the end zone from the five with 3:25 left to play in the second to tie the score at 13-13.

“EJ (McKenzie) gave our entire team a spark because he gave us a physical, tough presence that we have not had at that position,” said Flanigan

After the Vikings forced a three-and-out on the Lions’ first drive of the second half, their own drive unraveled near midfield when they fumbled. Tyahir Mitchell scooped up the loose ball and ran 68 yards in the opposite direction to give Lincoln its first lead of the game.

“This was the best that our defense has played since I have been here,” Flanigan said. “They played against a very physical offense and stepped up with a lot of big plays

Once ECSU tied it at 20-20 on another one-yard plunge from King, MacKenzie found Akeem Jordan in the back of the end zone to take the lead once again. But the PAT try went wide, the second missed extra point by Lincoln in the game.

“Special teams cost us severely today,” Flanigan said. “We had a surprise onside kick that we didn’t execute, a punt that was partially blocked, we ran a fake when we were supposed to kick the ball away that led to a short field and a score, and the missed extra points were costly.”

Following Boone’s go-ahead touchdown, the Lions still had another shot, moving the ball into Vikings territory with just under three minutes to play. Facing a third-and-8, McKenzie threw for the end zone looking for Kenneth Faulcon. ECSU back Demetrius Hamilton went up for the jump ball with Faulcon and pulled it off his helmet for the game-clinching interception.

“We need to focus on fixing the mistakes and play with that same intensity the rest of the season,” Flanigan said. “If we do those things, then we will have a chance to turn this thing around and end the year on a positive note.”

Elizabeth City State 27, Lincoln 26

ECSU 13 0 7 7 — 27 Lincoln 0 13 7 6 — 26

First QuarterECSU — Boone 13 run (Flores kick)

ECSU — King 2 run (kick failed)

Second QuarterLU — Louis 0 interception return (kick failed)

LU — Scott 5 run (Arkelian kick)

Third QuarterLU — Mitchell 68 fumble recovery

ECSU — King 1 run (Flores kick)

Fourth QuarterLU — Jordan 14 pass from McKenzie (kick failed)

ECSU — Boone 2 run (Flores kick)

ECSU LUFirst downs 23 15Rushes-yards 52-272 38-168

Passing 12-29-1 7-24-2Passing yards 115 82

Total yards 387 250Punts 5-42.0 5-30.6

Fumbles-lost 4-1 1-0Penalties-yards 10-84 10-65

Individual statisticsRushing — ECSU: King 26-161 2TD, Joyner 5-42, Boone 8-34 2TD, Rushing 3-22, Houghton 3-17, Ellegor 1-2, Rountree 1-0, Boyette 1-(-6). Lincoln: McKenzie 18-95, Scott 18-83 TD, Robinson 1-2, Rowe 1-(-12).

Passing — ECSU: Boyette 8-18-1, 52 yards, Houghton 4-11-0, 63 yards. Lincoln: McKenzie 6-23-2, 66 yards, TD, Robinson 1-1-0, 16 yards.

Receiving — ECSU: Banks-Rose 7-57, Huff 2-39, Bryant 2-17, Kindred 1-2. Lincoln: Jordan 3-40 TD, Hobbs 2-14, Green 1-16, Scott 1-12.

Sacks — ECSU: Sellers, Thompson. Lincoln: Lampkin 2.

Interceptions — ECSU: Beatty, Hamilton. Lincoln: Louis.

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