Lincoln High did not make the playoffs in the Southern Division III last season, after being in the playoffs every year since 1999 expect 2010.
The Lynx were 2-6 in 2013, playing just an eight game schedule.
Preston Robbins was named to the Second Team All-League Offensive and Defensive squad, but was the only Lincoln player on the All-league teams, and returns for the Lynx this season.
Coach Rich Ottley said the Division III Southern league was senior-laden last season, “and we only had five, so it looks pretty good for us in 2014. We only lose two guys off offense and defense and return some talented guys. Chris Florence (6-0, 170) returns from last years season ending hamstring tear, and with him and Preston Robbins (5-9, 160) in the backfield we’ll be in pretty good shape back there. They are both extremely fast and real tough runners. We’ll be a power running team and try to set up the play action pass with the run, we’ll be like a 70-30 team.”
At quarterback Ottley has two men to choose from, and even might use both in any given game. Derek Shumway returns at the QB spot, but also there is junior McClain O’Conner, who did not play football last year, but had fine seasons for the Lynx basketball and baseball teams.
On the offensive and defensive line, Ottley said, “It is pretty much the same story. We won’t have a big line, but we’ll have some pretty tough kids like Kendall Thomas, anchoring us at right tackle” Also returning is Dylan Phillips and Frank Barrett at guard.
“Jesse Mathews and Jordan Harrington will be receivers, plus Shumway, when he is not at quarterback. When McClain is in, we’ll likely go more with the option play,” Ottley said. “Our kids give their best. Won’t have to go back to basics, so we can hit the ground running, and that will make us more competitive.”
On the field, Ottley said the Lynx like to run what they call the Hybrid Wing-T, or the Jet or Rocket sweep, “and run counters and traps off that.”
He expects with the eight seniors the Lynx have on the team this year, they will be a playoff team. “Those seniors will be a big step for us in leadership and experience,” he said.
Mountain View, the two-time defending Southern Division League champion, graduated 14 seniors, and may not be as much a strong contender as they have been the past seven years.
Ottley, who begins his 24th year in coaching, thinks The Meadows and Needles will be the main contenders. “Needles will be a big physical team.”
Needles’ last league championship was 2010, and last state title in 2007. The Meadows was league champion in 2009 when they were also state champions.
Lincoln opens the season with two non-league games. First, August 29 at Battle Mountain. Lincoln has not played Battle Mountain since a 12-8 win Nov. 12, 2005 over the Longhorns, on their way to the state championship that year.
Then at home Sept. 5 against West Wendover. Lincoln played them last in a 58-0 win in 2009. The Wolverines were 1-8 last season, and Battle Mountain was 5-6. They won their first playoff game, but lost in the state semi-finals to Mountain View.
Lincoln opens league play against Agassi Prep Sept. 19 in Las Vegas. Four of the last five games of the regular season are at home beginning with The Meadows Oct. 2, and ending with Mountain View Oct. 30.
Serving as assistant coaches for the Lynx are Steve and DJ Lucchesi, Raymond Wadsworth, and Talon Tibbetts.
Lincoln will have a JV team and play nearly the same schedule as the varsity except Calvary Chapel. Ottley thinks the JV has a game scheduled that day with the Cedar City Freshmen.