Janesville48.3°

Cardinals’ senior running back/linebacker is in high gear

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JOHN N. BARRY
November 9, 2007
— Most people would love to have a Porsche or a Lamborghini.

But the folks in the Brodhead-Juda area are perfectly content with the luxury of their smooth-running Lincoln.


Tyler Lincoln, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound tailback, has helped steer the Brodhead-Juda high school co-op football team into the WIAA Division 4 state semifinals.


The Cardinals (10-2) play West Salem (11-1) at Portage at 3 p.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the state title game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.


Lincoln, a senior at Juda High School, hopes the Cardinals can put off any winter plans for another week.


“This is the last time a lot of us are going to play football,” Lincoln said. “I know I don’t want this season to end, and a lot of other guys feel the same way. That’s why we’re playing so well right now, because we know what it means if we lose.


“Way back in the summer, we talked about getting a chance to play at state and at Camp Randall. Now, we’re a game away from getting that chance.”


Lincoln has been part of a potent 1-2 punch all season. Along with mammoth fullback Gary McAdory, Lincoln has torn up the opposition on the ground. McAdory has 1,396 yards rushing and Lincoln has added 1,345. “Thunder and Lightning,” as they are affectionately called, have combined for 36 touchdowns.


Even more staggering is the fact that Lincoln is averaging 9.4 yards per carry. In the Cardinals’ 6-0 quarterfinal win over Evansville, Lincoln scored the lone touchdown with six seconds left to play.


Edgerton coach Mike Gregory, who got a first-hand look at Lincoln in a 37-6 loss to the Cardinals during the Rock Valley Conference season, came away impressed with how big Lincoln plays.


“Don’t let his lack of size fool you,” Gregory said. “He’s not afraid to take a hit running the ball or deliver a hit playing linebacker.


“What really stood out with Tyler at tailback was how he was able to find a hole and get through it so quickly. Tyler just needed a little bit of an opening. He was clearly the lightning of that talented backfield.”


Lincoln has played on the varsity for almost four years after being called up as a freshman. Along with 11 other Juda players, Lincoln commutes to and from practice in a van. He’s one of six starters for the Cardinals from Juda and says the chemistry on the team is great—despite a couple of heated baseball games between the schools last spring.


“We get along just fine,” Lincoln said. “I don’t think anyone ever thinks about what high school someone goes to.


“There’s a lot of joking around, especially between me and Gary, but we all want the same thing—and that’s to get to the state championship game.”


Lincoln broke his right foot during the first week of practice last year and missed a large portion of the season. He says the foot is 100 percent now and not a concern.


The 1,345 yards on 143 carries back up his claim. He also has 16 solo tackles and six tackles for losses from his linebacker spot.


After shutting out Evansville’s high-powered offense in the quarterfinal win, Lincoln knows the Cardinals are going to have their hands full with West Salem’s spread offense. The Panthers are averaging nearly 38 points per game and have scored 113 points in three blowout victories in the playoffs.


“Our defense is pumped up to play,” Lincoln said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of stopping the pass all year, and that’s what they like to do.”


If Brodhead-Juda can get past West Salem, look for a Lincoln to lead the caravan to Camp Randall.



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