Lincoln County had a very good football season in 2012, and having 13 seniors on the squad was a major factor.
The Lynx were 9-3 on the season, second behind Mountain View in the Division III Southern league, had a first round playoff win over Laughlin, then lost in the state semifinals 38-14 to eventual state champion Pershing County.
It was Lincoln’s best showing since going 7-4 in 2008. The team started the 2012 season with a loss to traditional out-of-state opponent Enterprise, but reeled off seven wins in a row before dropping a game to co-league leader Mountain View.
This season coach Rich Ottley, who begins his 23rd year of coaching and 14th as Lynx head coach, says the team will be completely rebuilding.
“This will be a major rebuilding year for us. We only have one offensive starter coming back in, junior lineman Kendal Thomas (6-0, 225).” Gone are four of the five starting offensive linemen, starting quarterback, fullback and two wings, and receiver. “The biggest contributor for us this year will probably be junior Chris Florence at defensive corner and starting offensive tailback.”
Ottley said he expects Preston Robbins to also be in the backfield with junior Derek Shumway at quarterback. On the line, Ottley says, “We are just going to have to see how it shakes out. I can’t really say for sure right now who is going to be where. We might have to take kids that were running back types and put them on the line just to fill the spots out. It might take us a while when you turnover that many kids.”
Touched heavily by graduation, the Lynx will be young and somewhat small this year, with primarily juniors and sophomores, says Ottley. “We don’t have a lot of size, and only two seniors have come out for football, the Olson twins (Mark and Danny). But that was expected, as that class has not been one with a lot of football players ever since they were freshmen, and that is what is going to make such a big turnover for us.”
What the Lynx will lack in size, they will try to compensate with speed with a Hybrid Wing T offense and the normal 4-3 defense. “I think we will have great speed from the backfield to the outside,” Ottley says. “We’ll run what we call the Jet rocket sweeps. Our weakness will be our size and inexperience, but we will be quick on defense. Our goal is to be a playoff team. If can get to the playoffs, we’ll have exceeded expectations.”
Looking at the Division III Southern League Mountain View, 2012 state runner-up, will probably be the strongest team in the state. “They return almost that whole team they had last year.” Mountain View has 13 seniors listed on this year’s roster. “Pershing County (Lovelock) will be tough again,” Ottley said. “I’ll be surprised if it’s not Pershing and Mountain View in the finals again.”
In the Southern Division III, The Meadows is said to be improved a lot. They have a JV team now, Ottely says, something they have not had for almost nine years.
“They were a young team last year, so they’ll be a strong team this year along with Mountain View. Agassi Prep will be tough, as they have both size and speed. Big offensive linemen and fast backs.” On the other side, Ottley says Laughlin was senior heavy and lost a lot through graduation, so will likely be rebuilding as well. And he is not sure what to think of Needles, as they really struggled toward the end of the season, losing five of their last six games.
Lincoln has only three homes games this season. They open at Enterprise, Utah, a traditional non-league game every year since 2004 and perhaps even before.
Ottley says with eight teams in the Division III South, Lake Mead Academy has dropped football, there is time for only one or possibly two non-league games before it all begins to count.
Lincoln’s first league game is hosting Agassi Prep Sept. 6. The final home game is with Laughlin Sept. 27. The Lynx have a bye week, Oct. 4, then close out the season with three away games, including the final one at Mountain View Nov. 1.
Regarding the game with Enterprise, Ottley says, “We play Enterprise because it’s geographical. That’s the closest school to us, closer even than Pahranagat Valley (although Pahranagat plays 8-man football).”
Enterprise was 3-6 last season, and second to last in the Utah 2A South league.
Brothers Steve and D. J. Lucchesi will be two of the assistant coaches helping the Lynx. D. J. will serve as offensive coordinator. Steve will be head coach for the J.V. team. Raymond Wadsworth is the varsity offensive line coach and JV defensive coordinator, and first year coach Talen Tibbetts will work with the linebackers and tight ends.