LINCOLN, Mo.-- For a quarter, Adrian and Lincoln were locked into a back and forth battle fitting of two teams that entered with a combined 22-2 record.
The second quarter however, proved why Lincoln will advance to the Missouri Class 1 semifinals against Mid-Buchanan.
The Cardinals scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter on their way to a 38-14 quarterfinal victory.
On the opening drive, the Blackhawks forced Lincoln into a three-and-out, before driving to the Cardinal 13. The Blackhawks missed a 30-yard field goal, which would have given them their only lead of the game. Instead, Lincoln drove 80 yards, mostly by the legs of Lincoln quarterback Jackson Beaman who eventually scored on a quarterback sneak on fourth down.
Adrian quarterback Hunter Steen answered with his own run, a 57-yard touchdown scamper on an option run to tie the score 7-7.
For the Blackhawks, the felt they should have led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Before the missed field goal, Steen handed the ball on the option, when he and head coach Matt Cochran both realized he was open to sneak into the end zone.
“He knows if he had kept, he would have scored,” Cochran said.
The difference in the game however wasn’t one drive for the Blackhawks. Instead it was an impressive second quarter for Lincoln that proved to be the difference.
Lincoln scored three times in the quarter, relying heavily on slot receiver Bo Kroenke who kept the defense off balance. He capped off the first half with a 43-yards touchdown reception on a third-down and long with less than 30 seconds left.
“We thought (Kroenke) and (Gage Kahler) were good, but they were better than we thought,” Cochran said.
Kahler finished with a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Cardinals.
Adrian scored on their first possession of the second half on another long touchdown run by Steen to close the game back to 24-14, but they’d get no closer.
For Adrian,11-2, it marked the first trip to the quarterfinals since 2009.
“These seniors have shown good leadership,” Cochran said. “We are going to miss them on the field, but we are going to miss their leadership too. (The quarterfinal trip) shows the kids that now that we have been here, it shows that what it takes to get here and hopefully we can get a step or two further.”