Lincoln’s Spectacular Season Ends One Step Shy Of Victory

Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
The Lincoln Cardinals lost 44-0 to Hayti on Saturday, December 1, in the state class 1 championship game in Columbia, MO.
However, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here is the rest of the story.”
First year Lincoln Head Football, Coach Kevin Lafavor, commented before the season started, “A 7-2 record is realistic, but I also think going undefeated in the regular season is realistic.”
Gone from the powerhouse team the year before were the backfield of Derek Stephens and Dominic Simmons. They ran for over 2,500 yards. Junior Quarterback Jackson Beaman was switched to wide receiver while rehabbing from an off season surgery on his right arm. Junior Bo Kroenke would take over at QB and ended up being named All-District although Beaman would return as the QB later in the season.
Senior Running Back Gage Kahler would miss a couple of games with an injury. Junior Tanner Bays, the best punter in the area and a key player on offense and defense, would be ruled ineligible for their final battle.
However, there they were,  after losing to Paire View in their third game of the season 26-7, facing the Class 1, top rated 14-0 Hayti for the state championship with most of the town of Lincoln in attendance. 
Lincoln, undaunted by the hype and the role of David vs. Goliath, the Cardinals squared off against a Hayti team with four D-1 prospects and several more college bound players.
HHS would win the toss and Kevin Luster would kick off to the Lincoln 22. Parker Engles would return the ball to the Lincoln 30 and the battle was on.
Lincoln would go three plays for one yard and Kroenke would punt.
On their fourth play, C. Moore would ramble down the right side for 50 yards and the touchdown at the 9:57 mark. PAT was good and it was 8-0.
Then after both teams punted, Ivory Winters
would fly down the field for 62 yards and it was 14-0 after the PAT failed with 5:32 on the clock .
Then the game long drizzle would increase and the sideline reporters would rush to cover their camera equipment and the fans would pull out their umbrellas and rain gear. 
As one looked to the dark clouds overhead one couldn’t help but notice the odd site of the arm of a huge construction crane stretched out over the football field. Strange indeed.
Lincoln would then make their most impressive drive of the game. Beaman would hit  Nate Hesse with a 40 yard bomb. Kahler would break free for 15 yards and then two more to put the ball on the Hayti 19 yard line. A score here and Lincoln was back in it. However, Beaman would throw an interception in the end zone to end their threat. It was 14-0 after one.
The second quarter saw the backbreaking play of the game at the 7:40 mark when Beaman would fumble on the Hayti 39 yard line and Ivory Winters would race to the house for a 52 yard TD. It was 22-0 and things would get even  worst for the Cardinals. After Hayti would score again, Lincoln would drive to the Hayti ten yard line. Beaman would throw an interception and Damorri Reed would return the ball 99 yards for the TD. C. Moore added the PAT with no time on the clock and it was 36-0 at half. 
Then, the hardest rain of the day came and Lincoln would play with a running clock and Hayti would score once more for the 44-0 victory.
Beaman was 8-25 for 94 yards and four  interceptions. He was sacked three times and rushed for nine yards on nine carries. Kahler was 10- 54 rushing. Nate Hesse was 5-62 receiving, Kroenke 1-22, and Landon Bond was 1-13.
After the game, Coach LaFavor commented, “ I am very proud of these boys.Nothing to hang our heads about. Just an amazing season and I will never forget this group of players.”
Although they were naturally discouraged over the loss, they handle theirselves well in post game interviews.
Kahler said, “We did something no other Lincoln football team ever accomplished. It was an amazing ride.”
When asked about the rain, Kroenke said, “
It was hard to hang onto the ball but we played through it.”
Hesse was asked about Hayti defensive backs and responded “They were much faster than anyone we played this season.”
Beaman commented, “ I told the team that I didnt play very well today. We never gave up and we fought all the way. We will be back next year, I guarantee that.”
To Jackson Beaman and to his cousin  Hayden Beaman ,whom he kneels and prays with on the sidelines before every game and to the rest of the team, we leave them with the following inspiration.
“ They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,  they shall mount up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.
Lincoln’s 13 wins were over Rich Hill 41-8, Concordia 43-7,Windsor 19 -12, Sweet Springs 40 -8, Tipton 42-12, Santa Fe 40-12,Wellington 10-8, Cole Camp 14-0, Adrian 38-14, and Mid Buchanan 14-13.