SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Nick Kellar and John Lopez connected on a trio of touchdown passes and the Lincoln defense forced three second half turnovers as the Cougars picked up their third victory in as many games this season, 21-13 at Nicholas County.
The Lincoln defense yielded just seven points against the Grizzlies and they have surrendered just 26 points in their 3-0 start.
“We just wouldn’t break. We would bend but I thought our pass coverage in the second half was pretty good. We were able to get some pressure in his face and force a couple quick throws. I thought we tackled well most of the night. We may have missed one here or there. But our defense has played really well all year and I think tonight was a continuation of that,” said Lincoln head coach Rob Hawkins.
Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard until the final two minutes of the first half. With 1:30 to play before halftime, Nicholas County’s Brycen Morriston hit Kaleb Clark with a 15-yard touchdown pass, giving Nicholas (2-1) a 7-0 lead.
The Cougars quickly marched down the field and capped a scoring drive when Kellar found Lopez on the goal line from five yards out, tying the game at 7-7 at halftime.
Nicholas County needed just 16 seconds to retake the lead. Wes Hill returned the opening kickoff of the second half 94 yards, putting the Grizzlies up 13-7. Lincoln answered late in the third when Lopez reeled in his second scoring strike from Kellar. The 24-yard hookup and PAT gave Lincoln their first lead at 14-13.
Early in the fourth, the Cougars capped the scoring when Lopez pulled in a 32-yard touchdown in the end zone.
“His last two touchdown catches were just tremendous catches. It is a guy wanting the ball and making plays. We knew we were going to have to against them. We knew they were going to load the box if we had success running. We knew our receivers were going to have to make plays. Luckily we were able to do that and Nick was able to get the ball to them.”
Lincoln’s defense collected three second half turnovers. Austin Corley recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter. David Burdette and Gerald Parado pulled down interceptions.
“[Nicholas] is going to win a lot of football games. They are a good team. The way the rankings system is, we need bonus points. I feel like Nicholas is going to get several of them. I thought whichever team won this game really gave themselves a step up getting to where they want to get at the end of the season. This was a huge win for us.”