Lincoln Prep takes control of the IL
By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Lincoln Prep and Northeast came into Friday’s Interscholastic League contest having won the league title once each in the last two years.
After the Blue Tigers’ 28-14 homecoming win against the Vikings, Lincoln Prep is in the driver’s seat to repeat as the kings of the IL.
Led by the running back tandem of seniors Jabari Hopson and Colandus Rucker, the Blue Tigers improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in league play before a lively crowd at IL Stadium.
Hopson had 76 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Rucker scored once on 21 carries for 137 yards.
“They had a good game tonight,” said Lincoln Prep head coach Henry Newell said.
Hopson’s ground and pound style complemented Rucker’s slashing against the Vikings.
“This is my brother, man,” Rucker said of Hopson. “The whole four years we’ve been here we have an unbreakable bond. I love this man.”
Hopson, listed as a fullback, was just as enthused as his classmate.
“I open up the outside for him and he opens up the middle for me,” he said.
The Vikings, 1-5 overall and 1-1 in league play, saw the return of starting running back Desmond Walker, out since Week 2 with an ankle injury. Walker had dynamic touchdown runs of 48 and 97 yards against Lincoln Prep to wow the crowd. He rushed for 211 yards on just 12 carries.
Despite the numbers, Northeast head coach Terry McCray said Walker is still rounding into early-season form when he accounted for five touchdowns in the first two games of the season.
Walker was in and out of the lineup against Lincoln Prep.
“We know what he can do,” McCray said. “He’s just got to stay healthy. When he’s in there, he changes the whole complexion. When he’s not, we’re in trouble.”
Lincoln Prep scored first, capitalizing on a Northeast turnover to go ahead 7-0 on Hopson’s 1-yard, first-quarter score and a successful extra point kick. The Blue Tigers extended their lead after quarterback Harris Frazier’s 1-yard sneak on the first play of the second quarter. The extra point made the score 14-0.
Walker dazzled the crowd with a jaw-dropping 48-yard run off left tackle where he stumbled out of the backfield, regained his balance on the second level and scooted down the sideline and pass the secondary to cut the Blue Tigers’ lead to 14-6 with 11:07 left in the second quarter.
A successful two-point conversion made the score 14-8 in favor of Lincoln Prep.
Rucker twisted and turned for a 11-yard touchdown run for a 20-8 Blue Tiger lead two minutes before halftime.
Lincoln Prep went stagnant on offense in the second half scoring only on a safety and Hopson’s second TD of the game, a 2-yard plunge up the middle.
Walker’s 97-yard run, the highlight of the game, capped scoring for the night.
“Desmond Walker,” McCray said. “He’s explosive.”
Walker’s exploits didn’t surprise Newell nor did the Blue Tigers’ ability to keep him out of the end zone.
“We’ve seen some good backs this year,” Newell said, mentioning Oak Grove’s Aaron Graham and Center’s Tony Caldwell as tough and talented opponents. “(Walker’s) not bad. He’s another good back. Give credit to our defense.”
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