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Lincoln College Prep, like most metro-area teams, spent the better part of the summer not knowing if games would be played.

Of course, every high school football player wants to suit up. But with major college prospects up and down the Blue Tigers’ roster, 2020 was intended to be a showcase year.

Then, a global pandemic forced the postponement or cancellation of fall sports. Lincoln Prep and other Missouri schools were spared. As were some schools in Kansas.

Perennial Missouri small class power Lutheran North of suburban St. Louis wasn't so lucky.

The defending Class 2 state champions were slated to host Lincoln Prep on Saturday in the Gateway Scholars Classic, a three-game football bonanza in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Due to health protocols, the game was canceled. Instead, Lincoln Prep, fresh off an impressive season-opening shutout win over St. Joseph Benton, will take on Lansing.

The Lions return 18 seniors, and figure to be an early-season test for a Blue Tigers’ team fixated with winning a Class 3 state championship in Missouri.

“We are just happy to be playing,” Lincoln Prep head coach William Lowe said. “Our kids have been working extremely hard and we are holding them to a high standard. Lansing is a good team with 18 seniors and they will be a good test for us. They have a lot of size and talent and we are looking forward to a good game.”

Star quarterback lines up at defensive tackle
Lincoln Prep quarterback Howard Brown is a three-year started at quarterback. He has been the catalyst for a program that has improved each year with Brown under center.

The 6-foot, 280-plus pound senior is also a Power 5 recruit at defensive tackle. He has verbally committed to Iowa St. to play defense. Still, it was surprising to see Brown wreaked havoc on the St. Joe Benton offensive line in a 42-0 Week 1 win.

The Blue Tigers played four quarterbacks against St. Joe Benton, freeing Brown to double dip.

“We’ll play some other quarterbacks to give him a chance to play defense because that’s what he is playing in college” Lowe said.

Brown was agile, quick and at times simply overpowered the Cardinals front five. He even drew a 15-yard penalty for an illegal crackback block on an interception, displaying a certain grit and physicality that high school opponents should heed.

“He dominates at that position,” Lowe said. “He’s too good not to let him play defense. But at the same time, he’s pretty good on offense, too”

Southeast ahead of the pack
It’s early. Just one game has been played. But the Knights of Southeast are in first-place in the Interscholastic League after a hard-fought 19-12 Week 1 league win over Kansas City Central.

Southeast is led by first-year head coach Julius Foster, a former assistant at Lincoln Prep. The Blue Eagles are coached by DJ Pittel, now in his second season.

Turnovers, as always, played a huge factor in the outcome of the game.

“We had six turnovers, fumbled inside the 3 and had a TD called back with 50 seconds to go,” Pittel said.

The Blue Eagles shut down the Knights in the second half, allowing zero points and only three first downs, Pittel said.

“Something to build on was the fact that we fought to the end,” he said.