The Lincoln Hornets (7-1) moved to the top of this year's Eastern League standings and avenged last year's playoff loss to the Christian Patriots (6-2), with a 20-7 win in the El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week.
While both teams have flashed high-powered offenses throughout the season, the night belonged to the defenses. Christian thwarted four of the Hornets' drives via turnover, recovering a pair of fumbles in the first half and snagging two picks after the break. Lincoln held tight on two trips inside their own red zone and kept the Patriots off the board until midway through the fourth quarter.
The Hive did find the end zone twice in the first half, starting with a 27-yard run by Da'Jon Thomas. On a second-quarter snap from their own 20, Asante Hartzog fired a pass to Kevin Banks in the flat, and he sprinted down the sideline before being brought down just a yard short of a score. Kenyon Sims would punch it in a couple plays later for a 14-0 lead.
The highlight of the night came on a deflected Hartzog pass, which bounced straight into the arms of offensive lineman Treyvon "Biscuit" Wallace, who rumbled for an 8-yard gain.
The Hornets found some rhythm on their first possession of the second half, with four plays of over 10 yards. Sims capped that drive with another score from 2 yards out.
Christian quarterback Brad Jeremiah connected with Bryce Riepl on a 38-yard touchdown in the final frame.
The Patriots go on the road next week, with a visit to Scripps Ranch. Lincoln hosts Madison, before closing out the Eastern League schedule against Morse the following week.
PREVIEW: A pair of 6-1 squads play for the Eastern League lead, as the #9 Lincoln Hornets face off against the Christian Patriots in the El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week.
The two teams come into Friday's contest tied atop the league standings at 2-0, so whoever emerges with a win will be in pole position to claim the Eastern crown.
In 2016, Christian won the regular season matchup 35-17 and finished one game ahead of Lincoln for the league title. They met again in the Division 3 semifinals, with the Patriots hanging on for a one-point win in a 35-34 thriller.
Senior quarterback Asante Hartzog returns at the helm of the Lincoln offense, which has gobbled up huge chunks of the field -- they're averaging around 10 yards every time they snap the ball. Hartzog has thrown 19 touchdowns against just 3 interceptions, with 8 of those scores going to Jailen Bailey. Kenyon Sims takes most of the handoffs, with 85 carries for 856 yards and 14 touchdowns.
On the other side, senior Brad Jeremiah is back behind center for Christian. For most of the season, his passing numbers have been near the top of the state leaderboards. Last week against Morse, he completed just 18 passes on 26 tries for 144 yards, all season lows. Fortunately for the Patriots, the ground game led the way, with Nashom Carter slotting in at running back for the first time. The senior ran 18 times for 87 yards, while making 2 trips to the endzone.
Tune in for live pregame coverage on KUSI News between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. During the game, follow all the action on Twitter and Instagram, at @kusippr and @redjacketarmy. And of course, you can see all the highlights on the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30 p.m., only on KUSI.