Agassi Prep ended the season for the Lincoln County Lynx on Friday at Rancho High in Las Vegas.
Kobe Williams intercepted a Hail Mary McClain O’Connor pass on the last play of the game to preserve a 20-12 win for the Stars in the first game of the Division III Southern playoffs.
It was Williams’ second interception of the night, as he had a 44-yard pick six in the first quarter, giving the Stars a 14-0 lead.
Mistakes in the first half and a few other problems proved costly for the Lynx (6-4). A fumbled snap on a punt try midway through the second quarter led to a blocked punt and an Agassi possession deep in Lincoln territory. Stephan Lauschaul then had an easy five-yard run for the first score.
Later in the third quarter, O’Connor was intercepted again at the goal line by defensive back Cajon Lakes. This led to a 78-yard drive by Agassi that ended with a 21-yard TD run by Williams and a 20-0 lead.
Willams and Lauschaul both finished the game with 98 yards rushing. Williams had 19 carries and Lauschaul 14 carries.
O’Connor got Lincoln on the scoreboard in the last minute before halftime on a 21-yard scramble.
In the third quarter, Lincoln converted on a fourth-and-four play to keep a drive alive that was capped by a Derek Shumway score to cut the lead to 20-12.
The Lynx continued to hold Agassi scoreless in the second half. “We were holding them really well on defense,” Shumway said, “and forced turnovers and stopped their run.”
Preston Robbins said he felt the Lynx outplayed Agassi in the second half. “We held them pretty good on every time, it was just a couple of key things early that happened badly on our part,” referring to the blocked punt and the first two interceptions
As the game was winding down, Lincoln put together a 55-yard drive in the final two minutes with no timeouts, but on the last play of the game, Williams intercepted the pass in the end zone to preserve the Agassi win. “We ran a Hail Mary from about the 30 yard line,” Shumway said, “but it came down a little short of Jordan Harrington and Williams was able to pick it off.”
O’Connor was 10-for-25 passing, 109 yards and three interceptions. He also ran the ball nine times for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Shumway said Agassi was keying on the Lincoln running backs. “They were focusing more on Preston than on me.”
Preston Robbins had 11 carries for 31 yards and Derek Shumway 27 yards on five rushes.
The speed and size of Agassi hindered Lincoln, much as it had in their first meeting of the season. “We couldn’t really run anything up the middle or on the sweep. Their defensive line was definitely stronger, we really just couldn’t run anything.”
Lincoln finishes the season 6-4, but a rebound from the 2-6 2103 season. Shumway said he was impressed with the way the team improved from last year. “Defense was our major improvement,” Robbins said.
Robbins finished his senior season with 872 yards on 106 attempts and eight touch downs, 15 pass receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He was credited with 11 tackles on defense.
Shumway had 266 yards on 48 carries for the season and five touchdowns. He also nine receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown and he had six tackles and one interception.
Junior quarterback O’Connor finished 58-of-127, 816 yards, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Coach Rich Ottley said the improvement the team made this year is what his is most proud of. “We started off with a first year quarterback, and some others in first year positions and they really came along and evolved.
O’Connor returns at quarterback for Lincoln in 2015 along with running backs Will Culverwell and Cody Thornock. “We’ll be OK at running back next year,” Ottley said.
The Lynx best season since 2005, was their 9-3 record in 2012 when they were second in league to Mountain View and lost in the state semifinals to eventual state champion Pershing County.
Agassi (8-2), in only their third ever playoff appearance, moves on to face defending Division III state champion Yerington (7-2) this Saturday in Yerington. It will be the first ever football meeting between the two teams. Agassi comes in scoring 37.9 points per game and Yerington, 36.3. In other Division III playoff action last week, The Meadows beat Needles 16-7, Yerington over Incline 66-12, and Pershing County beat Battle Mountain 22-6. Pershing County (8-2) travels to The Meadows (9-2) on Saturday. This is a rematch of their game Sept. 5 in Las Vegas that Pershing County won 8-0 with a touchdown in the final four minutes.