LINCOLN -- Lincoln’s football team will host Alabama Christian in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs tonight at 7.
After falling short of a playoff berth last season, the Golden Bears are back in a spot where they have had success in the past. Lincoln has won its last two first-round matchups.
“We are very excited,” Lincoln head coach Matt Zedaker said. “There were a lot of goals that we set in the regular season that we accomplished, and now it is a new season. We have a one-game season to try to get another game. We are throwing all of our eggs in the basket right here, sell out and do whatever we have to do to move on to the next round. “
Playing at the friendly confines of Keith Howard Memorial Stadium has severed as an advantage for the Golden Bears in 2018, especially on defense. In five home games, Lincoln has limited opponents to 11.2 points per outing, including a shutout against Elmore County to clinch the 4A, Area 4 championship.
“These kids love playing in front of their student body, their community and their family,” Zedaker said. “We are 5-0 on this field this year. That was one of our goals at the beginning of the year -- to be undefeated at home, and we accomplished that.
“A lot of it is that we are very routine-oriented. When we get out of routine, it is hard for us to get our emotions and concentration back. It is a blessing that we were able to win the region and host a ... playoff game. There is something about this field and this environment and being able to play here on our turf. Hopefully, that will translate to us being 6-0 at the end of the night.”
The Golden Bears (7-3) are looking to bounce back after falling to Montevallo 42-24 last week. Despite the loss, Lincoln took away several positives, such as the play of Cam Reynolds. The junior running back gained 171 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
“Cam is tremendous, to be honest with you,” Zedaker said. “He is our second-string running back behind Shamar (Hampton) because he doesn’t come off the field defensively. He is the quarterback in the secondary, he is our strong safety. He gets everything set up for us from the back side and he does a really good job back there directing traffic.
“When (we’ve used him) to give Shamar some rest, he has done an outstanding job of hitting the holes, finding space and breaking tackles. He has a lot of YAC (yards after contact). ... He is a great kid overall and he comes from a fantastic family. He is a very football knowledgeable kid.”
Alabama Christian (3-7) is looking to build on its strong finish to the regular season. The Eagles won two of their last three games to earn a playoff berth. Zedaker said Alabama Christian’s record doesn’t indicate how good the Eagles area.
“Their record really doesn’t indicate how well-coached of a team that they are,” Zedaker said. “They are a third-round team from last year. … They are not going to make mistakes; they are going to be in the right place. You definitely can’t overlook anybody in the playoffs, everybody is 0-0 right now.
“Offensively, everything runs through the quarterback, No. 11 (Reece Solar). He is a big kid, he loves to run the ball. Everything is based off his running style, and then they will play-action you a little bit. They have a really good receiver in No. 1. (Jalen Clark). He is a tall kid that can go get the ball. They have a very good salty offensive line that gets after it, so we will have our hands full with that offense.”