A new era begins with Tigers win

The Fred T. Foard Tigers’ roaring start on offense ended up being too much for the N. Lincoln Knights from just across the border Friday night.

The Tigers defeated the Knights 25-6 on Friday, marking the team’s first win since Oct. 23, 2009.

The Tigers starting running back was the key to the team’s strong offense in the first half. The 190-pound Tre Robinson overpowered the Knights smaller defensive backs in the first quarter and lived up to expectations in a big way – rushing for 102 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

Tigers quarterback Erik Ware also assisted to Foard’s strong start, scoring on a drive where he rushed for 27 yards, including a 16-yard quarterback sneak that led to his 5-yard touchdown run. Ware finished with 17 carries for 81 yards.

The Tigers defense was also impressive, holding the Knights’ pass-heavy offense to only one touchdown. The Tigers held Knights quarterback Cory Blake to 17 completions for 49 attempts, with the strong-armed quarterback throwing for 171 yards in the game.

Other than Blake, the Knights had little firepower offensively, and suffered six turnovers on downs in addition to one interception by Foard’s Samuel Hefner.   

Despite the strong start to the game, the Tigers running back and offensive scheme had a cooler second half. Robinson finished the game rushing 24 times for 148 yards, and lost two fumbles.

The Knights showed signs of life on their first drive in the second half after Blake completed a string of passes to wide receivers Scott DeLuca and Carlos Areceyut. The drive produced a North Lincoln touchdown. After the touchdown, however, the Knights endured five turnovers-on-downs and one interception.

The win marks the Tigers’ first win in nearly two seasons. The win is also first-year head coach Jason Phelps’ first career victory with Foard. After the game, offensive lineman and punter Tanner Flemming awarded Phelps the game ball.

“Last year was a completely different season, and Coach Phelps brings a new era to this school,” Flemming said.

Phelps addressed his team after the game dripping wet after his team doused him with Gatorade. His son, Colin, ran up and hugged him as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

“This is our first win since 2009, and we are headed in the right direction,” Phelps said. “We are a better team offensively and defensively.”

Phelps said the key to the win was the quick start in the first half.

“We executed in the first half on both the offensive and defensive end,” he said.

Robinson, who was taken out temporarily in the fourth quarter after a tough hit on the sideline, also felt the quick start was the key.

“Last year, we were never very good in the first quarter or second quarter,” Robinson said. “We were a second-half team.”

At a few points in the game, Foard’s new flexbone offensive scheme showed signs of newness, as Ware and Robinson were off on several pitches. The pass game was also non-existent, with Ware finishing with three pass attempts for -5 yards.

“There is still some work to be done, but we plan on getting better and improving every game,” Phelps said. “But tonight, we are happy with this win.”