PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lincoln left guard Will Duffy had seen the tendencies. Whether he was facing a weak-side, or strong-side front, a defensive lineman would always line up on his outside, in perfect position to get trapped.
Duffy knew — after seeing for over a quarter how Grant lined up against him — if the Cardinals ran 22 trap, it would work. So, after Grant scored to make the game 21-13 in the second, Duffy approached head coach Wes Warren and told him what he was seeing — he told his coach it was time for 22 trap.
One play and a 70-yard Nick Ostmo touchdown run later, Duffy was right. And though he initially didn’t want to toot his own horn, he couldn’t let this opportunity pass.
“I was looking for Wes and I (told him), ‘I told you so coach,'” Duffy recalled. “And he was there. He was there.”
Ostmo added, “(Duffy) was telling me all about how he called it, bragging. It was a great play call by him and they blocked it perfectly.”
The quick-strike touchdown sparked Lincoln to a 35-28 victory, despite a tough, fourth-quarter comeback from the Generals.
“Any win against Grant is a good win, no matter how it is,” Warren said. “This game means a lot to our kids, our fans and our community.”
The win clinches a Portland Interscholastic League championship for the Cardinals. They’ll finish the regular season next week against Wilson.
Big plays and short drives were a theme for the Cardinals all night. Ethan Stall took the first play from scrimmage 54-yards for a touchdown. Daniel Kovalev, Frank Elsener and Ostmo would also have touchdowns in the first half as Lincoln headed to the locker room with a 28-13 lead.
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Lincoln ran the ball well against Grant all night. The team averaged 9.5 yards per carry en route to 421 total rushing yards. Ostmo led the way for Lincoln, rushing 17 times for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The second half started like the first half for Lincoln. After a big run from Matthew Easton — who also had 2 interceptions — Ostmo scored on the next play to give the Cardinals a 35-13 lead and seemingly put Grant out of reach.
But that’s not Grant.
“We knew even when we got up a few touchdowns it was going to be a close game at the end,” Warren said.
A fourth-quarter touchdown run from Grant Ewell Jr. and a touchdown pass from Demarques Singleton Jr. to Marcus Harris cut Lincoln’s lead to 35-28 with 2:43 left. Grant had all three timeouts, putting the onus on the Lincoln rushing game to close out a league championship. Two first down carries from Ostmo and a final one from Stall was enough to get the job done.
Coming into this year, Duffy — an all-league guard — knew his team would have to replace a large amount of seniors and a large amount of size if they wanted to repeat as league champions. He said if the offense line could be smart and be physical — like they were on 22 trap — they would succeed. Now they’re playoff-bound, once again, and after next week they’ll get a chance to showcase that intelligence and physicality against the state’s best.
“We knew if we could use it right we could do some damage against some really good teams,” Duffy said.
Before that, though, the Cardinals will have to fix some things.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Warren said. “It’s going to be ugly on film. We didn’t play well at times, but it was nice to get the win.”
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