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Woodcreek turns turnovers into rout of Lincoln

Mize, Layton, Nogosek, Beaber (and defense) have big nights
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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LINCOLN — There were plenty of opportunities to go around when Woodcreek High School visited Lincoln in a football season opener Saturday night.

Lincoln fumbled its chances. Woodcreek put its opportunities in the end zone.

The host Zebras scored the first touchdown, and the Timberwolves scored the next eight in a 54-6 rout played before a packed house that spilled out of the bleachers and lined up around the perimeter of the stadium.

Senior quarterback Shaun Mize completed 14 of 18 passes, including two touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Sophomore Mitchell Layton rushed for 138 yards in 18 carries in his first varsity game and had touchdown blasts of four and 46 yards. Junior Stephen Nogosek had a 33-yard touchdown catch on a lob from Mize, then took over at quarterback in the fourth quarter and raced 44 yards for a touchdown on a bootleg.

The balanced Timberwolves rushed for 273 yards to go with Mize’s 272 yards passing, but it was the defense that stood firm until the offense put everything together.

“We were doing some nice things but shooting ourselves in the foot. The defense set the tone. It was awesome,” Woodcreek coach John Hildebrand said. “Our D didn’t waver or lose faith. They stayed right with us. Then our offense came around, and the D did their thing all night.”

Woodcreek drove into Lincoln territory on its first two possessions, but two holding penalties and an interception by Eric Corter kept it scoreless until Lincoln’s Isaac Allen took a screen pass 56 yards to the Woodcreek 16-yard line. He scored on a one-yard run five plays later to give the Zebras a 6-0 lead.

That was it for Lincoln. Seniors Josh Sowma, Kevin Wedman and Luke Summers led a hard-hitting defense that swarmed the Zebras.

Wedman’s hit on quarterback James Hubbard jarred the ball loose, and senior Skyler Rader recovered a fumble that set up Woodcreek’s first touchdown, a 33-yard lob from Mize to Nogosek, who outjumped a Lincoln cornerback for the ball.

The Timberwolves scored twice more before halftime, including an 82-yard pass from Mize to senior Jake Hassell. A Lincoln defender sustained an injury on the play, giving Hassell room to make the catch at the Woodcreek 45 and motor the rest of the way.

Perry Beaber’s interception set up Woodcreek’s third touchdown, a four-yard run by Layton. Beaber had a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second half.

“We put the first points on the board. Putting the ball on the ground, that’s what killed some of our big drives,” Lincoln coach Ken Lowe said.

Allen had a 29-yard run on the second play of the second half that helped the Zebras march to the Woodcreek 15, but senior Austin Hagarty fell on another Lincoln fumble and the Timberwolves drove 80 yards in eight plays. Mize scored on a three-yard bootleg to give Woodcreek a 27-6 lead.

A fumble recovery by junior Kory Adams set up Nogosek’s touchdown romp with 9:22 remaining in the game, and Lincoln barely got a hand on senior Dylan Chaney on a run up the middle that turned into an 80-yard sprint for Woodcreek’s final score.

“It was one of those first games. We had some adversity this week,” Lowe said. “Great Woodcreek team. They’re probably going to go on and do OK.”

Several firefighters and others were honored at halftime for their roles in putting out the threatening fire earlier in the week in Lincoln. The fire caused officials to move the game from Friday to Saturday.

Woodcreek 54, Lincoln 6

Woodcreek   0   20   13   21 — 54
Lincoln         0     6     0     0 —   6

Linc — Allen 1 run (run failed)
Wood — Nogosek 33 pass from Mize (Poon kick)
Wood — Hassell 82 pass from Mize (Poon kick)
Wood — Layton 4 run (kick failed)
Wood — Mize 3 run (Poon kick)
Wood — Layton 46 run (kick failed)
Wood — Beaber 72 punt return (Poon kick)
Wood — Nogosek 44 run (Poon kick)
Wood — Chaney 80 run (Thompson kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Woodcreek, Layton 18-138, Mize 4-4, Astor 2-7, Chaney 1-80, Nogosek 1-44. Lincoln, Allen 21-99, Castro 8-15, Martinez 6-26, Larsen 3-6, Torres 1-3, Tayeh 1-1.
PASSING — Woodcreek, Mize 14-18-1, 272. Lincoln, Hubbard 3-7-1, 68.
RECEIVING — Woodcreek, Nogosek 3-84, Rogers 3-35, Layton 3-32, Hassell 2-82, Astor 1-17, Lara 1-16, Robinson 1-6. Lincoln, Allen 1-56, Tayeh 1-8, Patrick 1-4.