Lincoln Park recorded an impressive nonconference 49-13 victory over Chicago Academy on Friday in Coach Vince Francesco’s first game as head coach. Scoring three touchdowns on special teams before the offense took the field, the Lions controlled the ball the entire game. The Lions defense held the Cougars to only 6 points most of the game, giving up a final touchdown in the closing seconds.
After stopping the Cougars’ opening drive at midfield, senior Donte Allen returned the Cougar punt 95 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars scored, making it 7-6, but junior Charles Dale returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Forced to punt on their next possession, Allen again returned the punt to the endzone for his second and the team’s third touchdown of the game.
Taking the field for the first time, the offense scored on their opening play with sophomore Tavares Bean running for a 20 yard touchdown. Bean scored his second touchdown of the game with a 13 yard run on the Lions’ next possession.
In the closing seconds of the first half, sophomore quarterback Jake Dowell scrambled out of the pocket to narrowly avoid a sack, then hit senior Amari Freeman in the endzone for a 35 yard touchdown to make it 42-6 at the half.
The Lions controlled the ball and the clock in the second half, with Dale doing most of the legwork. After a sustained drive in the fourth quarter, Dale punched the ball into the endzone for his second touchdown of the game.
Senior kicker Jonah Abrahams was 7 for 7 on extra point attempts for the Lions.
“We basically worked together as a team on all aspects of the ball from special teams to our offense,” noted senior defensive lineman and offensive guard Daniel Flores, better known as Urlacher. “We stayed organized and very disciplined during the game. We had a few bumps on defense, but we adapted after we recognized their scheme.”
Senior wide receiver and defensive end Amari Freeman has high hopes for the season. “Honestly, I just feel like we are getting better as a team and coming together under a new system. We will win our conference,” Freeman predicted.
Lincoln Park faces a very tough opponent on the road next week, 2014 State 7A quarterfinalists Lincoln-Way East.