The Lincoln County High School football team went into the state semifinals hoping to do something they hadn’t done in the last nine years.
With just a four-point halftime lead, the Lynx turned it on in the second half and punched their ticket to the state title game in Reno with a 48-30 victory in Panaca on Saturday.
“They played great,” Coach Rich Ottley said. “We haven’t been to the state championship game since 2006, so it was really neat.”
Going up against a Pershing County team that was bigger and stronger, they had to “really battle,” as Ottley put it. The Lynx were down early in the game with Pershing taking an 8-6 lead to the second quarter. In the second, Lynx senior Mike Wood caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior McClain O’Connor to take the lead and senior Will Culverwell punched in the two-point conversion. The Mustangs answered with a touchdown and two-point conversion to regain the advantage. Then junior Derek Mathews ran in a 2-yard score for the Lynx with two minutes left in the half, making the score 20-16.
The second half saw the Lynx come out strong, though the Mustangs certainly didn’t quit. “Our defense team got big in the second half when we needed them to and got some stops,” Ottley said. And on offense, “Coach Lucchesi did a great job with them, he made some good adjustments at halftime.”
Early in the third quarter, Landon Smith caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from O’Connor and Wood caught a pass for the two-point conversion. Culverwell had a 3-yard touchdown with four minutes left in the third. Then with just one minute on the clock, O’Connor threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Wood.
In the fourth, with the Lynx up 40-30, Derek Mathews ran it 12 yards for the score and Culverwell punched in another 2-point conversion. “Derek made a great run to extend the score to a three score lead,” Ottley said. “It iced the game for us.”
Overall, O’Connor was 13 of 18 passing for 196 yards and four touchdowns and 96 yards rushing on 11 carries. Wood had 108 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Landon Smith had 40 yards receiving and a touchdown. Zach Florence had 33 yards receiving. “They had some great catches,” Ottley said. “The passing game really helped us a lot against the bigger team.”
Mathews had 51 yards rushing and a touchdown, Culverwell had 45 yards rushing and one score.
The Lynx play Yerington for the state championship tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Reno High School.