LINCOLN -- Lincoln High School’s varsity squad defeated Alexandria 14-0 in the first half of a spring football scrimmage at Keith Howard Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
The Golden Bears and Valley Cubs used the first half of the scrimmage to assess their varsity lineups and gave junior varsity and younger players live reps in the second half.
Lincoln scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives with rising sophomore quarterback Jack Poarch, who got the start in place of Javion Surles.
“(Poarch) had a good year last year on our JV squad and has developed really nicely,” Lincoln head coach Matt Zedaker said. “I thought for his first really big-time start, he did a good job of running our offense. He executed it well. He didn’t make any silly mistakes and he threw the ball well for us …
“Our starting quarterback (Surles) was out today. We weren’t going to get him hit, but all that did was build a lot confidence in us that we could put Jack in at any time in a game and this offense would still go. Hat’s off to him.”
Poarch completed 5 of 8 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown -- a 43-yard pass to wide receiver Brian Garrett on the right sideline with 22 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Garrett caught the pass near the Alexandria 30, shook loose from a Valley Cub defender and raced upfield for the score. He finished with two catches for 55 yards.
“Brian’s one of our top receivers coming back,” Zedaker said. “He made a heckuva catch. He made a couple moves and then showed a burst of speed right there to run away from the defense ...
“We expect him to do things like that, and when he gets the ball in his hands, he makes special things happen. If you throw it anywhere around that kid, he’s going to catch it. He’s got glue on his hands.”
Rising senior running back Cam Reynolds punched in a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:30 to play before halftime. He finished with 34 yards on 10 carries.
“Cam brings a lot of energy on our squad on both sides of the ball,” Zedaker said. “He’s got really good vision as a runner. He’s our safety in the back and kind of sets everything up on the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s an all-state strong safety from last year and he was our No. 2 running back last year. He’s primed to have a special senior year.”
Reynolds’ score was set up by a blitzing Golden Bears’ defense that forced Alexandria running back Nate McCallum to fumble at his own 37.
Lincoln defensive back Dazhone Finley recovered the football, then caught a 9-yard pass on the ensuing Golden Bears’ possession to keep the scoring drive alive.
“(Finley’s) going to be a senior for us next year and play both sides of the ball,” Zedaker said. “He’s stepping into a corner role on defense vacated by a senior we just graduated. He just did a really good job.
“Defensively, we’re an attacking-style defense. When we go out, we’re ballhawking at all times. That’s our saying. We want to try to create three or more turnovers a game, and our kids have bought into that perspective of when we go out on the field, that ball is ours and we want to try to knock it out.”
For the first time in six seasons at Lincoln, a kicker not named Nick Pope set his crosshairs between the uprights. Recent addition Davidson Malone successfully converted both of his extra point tries.
Zedaker said while it’s nearly impossible to replace a kicker like Pope, he’s happy with Malone’s progress.
“We got (Malone) off the soccer team,” Zedaker said. “He has a very strong leg. He’s come out in a short period when he finished his soccer season, he’s worked with Nick and he has really (started to) develop his mechanics.
“We won’t be able to kick the long balls like we did with Nick, but Davidson’s going to give us another weapon. He’s good from about 30 to 35 yards in right now, and we’ve got all summer to develop him. I think we’ll be just fine in the kicking game with Davidson.”
Alexandria finished with 87 yards of offense behind a line head coach Todd Ginn said lost four starters from last year’s team. Of those yards, 81 came from McCallum on 16 carries.
Ginn said he saw some positives during the scrimmage.
“I liked our defense in spots,” he said. “We had some young guys at corner and we made some really boneheaded plays. When you let a guy catch the ball, you’ve got to make the tackle. I liked our defense in spurts and I liked our offense in spurts.
“I didn’t like the way they blitzed us there a little bit with their middle linebacker, and we didn’t pick up. That’s probably my fault because in the nine days of spring, I haven’t talked to them about it. We’ve got a new line, so we’re trying to figure out when they’re in a 3- and a 5-(man front) and this kind of stuff, so the blitz hurt us a lot tonight. We’ll get better.”