This game was a tail of two halves. The North Lincoln Knights took control in the first half. But the Burns Bulldogs made necessary adjustments to even the game up in the second half at 24-24 and send it into overtime. The Knights would be stifled on their overtime drive and would have to settle for a field-goal. When Burns got the ball, the Knights’ defense was keying on Bulldog tailback Kujuan Pryor that quarterback Cam’ron Sweezy had a wide open seam and took it 10 yards for the winning touchdown.
The Knights got the opening kickoff but were stopped in the red zone with an interception by the Bulldog defensive-back, JaQuan Degree. But the Knights would get the ball back after forcing a Bulldog punt. Ty Williams would get the Knights the lead early with a 54-yard touchdown run (PAT good). The Bulldogs would be in position to answer the score. Sweezy would connect with KJ Leslie on a short pass that he would take deep into Knights territory, but he would fumble inside the ten-yard line. The Knights would make them pay and extend their lead to 14-0 with an 89-yard run by quarterback Landon Beard (PAT good).
The Bulldogs came to life midway through the second quarter. With Pryor bottled up for most of the night, the Bulldogs went to the air. Sweezy connected with Kasen Twitty for a 69-yard touchdown pass (PAT good). Running out of time on their last drive, the Knights had to settle for a 21-yard field-goal by Ian Fiore to give the Knights a 17-7 half-time lead.
The Bulldogs would go on a tear in the second half. Pryor would cut the Knights lead to three points with an 11-yard touchdown run (PAT good). Later in the quarter, the Bulldogs took the lead with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Sweezy to KJ Leslie (PAT good). The Knights would take the lead right back in the fourth quarter with a 30-yard run by Ty Williams (PAT good). But the Knights’ defense would not be able to stop the Bulldogs. On 4th-and-15 inside the Bulldogs’ territory, Sweezy connected with Leslie for a 20-yard pass play to give them a first down. Stopped at the ten-yard line with just seconds to go, the Bulldogs settled for a 28-yard field-goal by Zach Benfield to send it into overtime.
The Bulldogs’ defense made life hard for Landon Beard, Jake Soorus and company. Alphonso Goodson, Dorien Starnes and Luke Lytle each had a sack for the Bulldogs. On defense for the Knights, Brock Rankin and Ty Castro each had a sack. Daniel Carter recovered the fumble early in the game for the Knights. Landon Beard led the North Lincoln offense with 225 total yards (193 rushing and 32 passing) and a rushing touchdown. Ty Williams amassed 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns. For Burns, Cam’ron Sweezy led the team with 233 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Kujuan Pryor rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown in the Bulldogs 30-27 win.
“It was a heck of a win. They have a tremendous football team. We knew that coming in.” said Burns head coach David Devine “We just challenged our kids to stay in there and keep playing hard. We were fortunate enough to make some adjustments on defense, slow them up a little bit to get us caught up and score in overtime to win it. We kind of changed some things on defense because Hibriten hurt us a little bit on some things. We just went back to what we’ve done in the past. They have a good defense and we thought that if we spread them out a little bit, we could run on them more.”
“I’m proud of my guys. They gave everything they had and played just as hard as you can ask a team to play. We lost to a good football team. We had our chances to win it but we didn’t.” said North Lincoln head coach Nick Bazzle “We can’t go back and put our finger on one play. It’s a four-quarter game. Things are going to happen. The ball is going to bounce your way some and not your way some. Bottom line, you got to have kids that play with heart and that’s what we had tonight.”
“They found some places where they were better than us and had some speed we couldn’t keep up with so they completed some passes.” Bazzle added “We did what we set out to do and that was stop #8. He didn’t have 400 yards on us tonight or 300 or whatever he’s been having in the past weeks so our kids did what they were supposed to do defensively with him. It was a tale of two halves. We went toe-for-toe with them for four quarters and lost to them in the fifth quarter.”
Burns (12-2) will travel to Shelby (13-1) next week for a rematch. The Golden Lions defeated the Bulldogs 26-13 in Shelby earlier this year. Shelby advanced with a 42-7 win over West Lincoln. North Lincoln’s season ends at 12-2.