LINCOLN — Ace McKinnis was close, as the Grand Island defensive back was all night to Lincoln High’s receiving corps.

Asked to guess how many yards the Links threw for, McKinnis said, “150?”

Close. And better than that — 137.

His Islanders broke up many a pass, some at the line, others in the secondary, in rallying for a 42-27 win Friday night over Lincoln High that kept them undefeated through two games against then-ranked opponents.

“We weren’t ranked coming into the year, so nobody expects this, except us,” McKinnis said. “We’re all together as a team and when we are it can make up for some of the athletic differences. And we got two wins.”

It was a frustrating night for Cedric Case, Lincoln High’s North Dakota-bound quarterback. The senior was 17 of 31 for 137 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, a week after throwing for 454 in a double-overtime loss to Bellevue West.

“Cedric is a great player and the receiving corps is well-coached,” Islanders coach Jeff Tomlin said. “We didn’t give up the big play. Overall, our secondary answered the bell.”

Grand Island’s scoring came from three touchdown passes from Cole Evans and three touchdown runs from Caleb Francl.

Evans had better passing stats than Case, 14 of 21 for 257 yards. He hit Broc Douglass for a 5-yard touchdown to start the game, a 69-yarder to Ben Reilly to start the second half and a 26-yarder to Timo Sikes to end their team’s closing 21-point rally.

The Islanders were exceedingly charitable to their host, losing four turnovers, with the No. 7 Links (0-2) scoring off the first three. They looked to have Grand Island on its heels when taking their only lead of the game, 27-21 with 4:36 left in the third quarter on Isaiah Alford’s second touchdown. The 190-pound senior ran for 150 yards on 23 carries.

But a missed extra point after the previous Links touchdown, a 6-yard scoop and score from Jadus Ellis, was still haunting them.

Grand Island took the lead for good at 28-27 on Francl’s 16-yard run for his second score — kicker Keyin Wentling was perfect on his six extra-point tries — with 52 seconds left in the third quarter. Lincoln High had a 35-yard field goal sail wide left.

A 29-yard pass to Douglass kept alive the drive that staked the Islanders to a 35-27 lead. Francl scored from the 3 with 2:35 left. Lincoln High then turned over the ball on downs — no successful comeback as it had against Bellevue West to force overtime — as Ben Reilly added a fourth-down breakup to his touchdown catch as highlight plays.

“We have no one to blame but ourselves,” Lincoln coach Mark Macke said. “We were in it for a while. I thought we were wearing them down and as it turned out, they wore us down. They were more disciplined than we were.”

Grand Island (2-0)..........14 0 14 14—42

At Lincoln High (0-2)...........7 7 13 0—27

GI: Broc Douglass 5 pass from Cole Evans (Keyin Wentling kick)

LH: Jaden Horton 4 pass from Cedric Case (Christopher Izaguirre kick)

GI: Caleb Francl 6 run (Wentling kick)

LH: Isaiah Alford 19 run (Izaguirre kick)

GI: Ben Reilly 69 pass from Evans (Wentling kick)

LH: Jadus Ellis 6 fumble return (kick failed)

LH: Alford 1 run (Izaguirre kick)

GI: Francl 16 run (Wentling kick)

GI: Francl 3 run (Wentling kick)

GI Timo Sikes 26 pass from Evans (Wentling kick)

A: 1,700 (est.)


Rushing: GI,J Reilly 18-60, Evans 11-53, Francl 13-84, Sikes 1-7. LH, Alford 23-150, Case 5-9, Caleb Miller 2-2.

Passing: GI, Evans 14-21-0 257. LH, Case 17-31-0 137.

Receiving: GI, Douglass 6-63, Sikes 2-60, B. Reilly 1-69, J. Reilly 3-43, Cahoy 1-5, Kyle Sextro 1-17, LH, Reat Choul 1-7, Alford 2-14, CJ Jones 1-8, Horton 6-69, Morgan Perry 2-22, Miller 1-6, Darius Luff 2-13 , Ellis 2-(minus 2).

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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