Lincoln Christian set the tone for the game on its opening drive Friday during a 48-7 win over Fort Calhoun.
After the Pioneers pinned the Crusaders on the four-yard line to start the game, it took only a few plays for Lincoln Christian to find the end zone on senior quarterback Alex Koch's 52-yard run with 8:54 remaining in the first quarter.
“They ran the flexbone option offense very well and we just didn't have an answer for them on defense,” Fort Calhoun coach Adolph Shepardson said. “We got overwhelmed and gave up well over 400 yards rushing. We have a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball. We need to tackle better, play disciplined/assignment football better, and get off of blocks better. It is back to basics this week in practice.”
The Crusaders led 14-0 before the Pioneers found some momentum in the second quarter after junior Jesse Hartline caused a fumble. Lincoln Christian recovered the ball but turned in over on downs.
Fort Calhoun capitalized as senior Dillon Dierks scored on a 4-yard run to cut the lead to 14-7. Dierks had 14 carries for 70 yards in the game.
“We ran the ball extremely well again as our starting offense had 27 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown,” Shepardson said. “We just didn't convert some huge opportunities in the pass game. We had a good game on special teams as well. We are making progress and we just need to shore up our defense before districts start in two weeks.”
Lincoln Christian added two more touchdowns in the first half, including a 10-yard run by senior Ian Paul with 26.2 seconds left.
“Lincoln Christian has a very nice team led by a group of 10 seniors who have put the time in,” Shepardson,” Anytime you have the core of your team that is experienced, athletic seniors you are going to be successful.”
Fort Calhoun is expected to gain some help on the defensive side in the coming weeks as six new players who started late — Malachi King, Michael Shirley, Brant Hilzendeger, Carsen Schwarz and Owen Newbold — will get the opportunity to play, Shepardson said.
The Pioneers host Raymon Central this Friday for its homecoming game.