LAKE STEVENS — The Lincoln football team features an impressive collection of players ranked among the state’s top college prospects.
But for much of Friday night’s showdown, Lake Stevens made the ultra-talented Abes look relatively ordinary.
The Class 4A sixth-ranked Vikings controlled both sides of the ball and rolled to a 38-21 win over 3A second-ranked Lincoln in a non-league clash at Lake Stevens High School between two teams with aspirations of deep state-playoff runs.
“I thought our kids answered a lot of questions about our size up front, our ability to cover speed and our ability to tackle in the open field against some athletic dudes,” Vikings coach Tom Tri said. “So I was really impressed (with) the way we played tonight.”
VIKINGS SPORT BALANCED OFFENSIVE ATTACK
Lake Stevens’ spread offense methodically marched up and down the field, totaling 464 yards on 77 plays while keeping Lincoln on its heels with a balanced mix of run and pass.
Senior quarterback Tre Long tossed four touchdown passes and completed throws to seven different receivers, while running backs Tom Lewis and Dallas Landeros both topped 100 yards rushing for the Vikings (2-0).
“It’s awesome,” Tri said of his team’s variety of weapons on offense. “It puts a lot of pressure on a defense. They have to cover sideline to sideline, and all the way to the end zone from the line of scrimmage. … When you can get the ball to five different receivers and three different running backs, who do you stop?”
Facing a Lincoln defense that includes two of the state’s top three senior defensive tackles according to 247Sports, Lake Stevens’ offensive line paved the way for a rushing attack that averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
“What I saw on film was that we were in better shape (than Lincoln), and I thought that we could wear them down in our run game if we were patient,” Tri said. “I knew we had to be patient. We just had to … really try to run the ball between the tackles as much as we could and try to wear them out that way. And I thought our guys did a great job of following the game plan.”
VIKINGS’ DEFENSE HOLDS LINCOLN IN CHECK
Lake Stevens limited Lincoln to just 278 yards of total offense, holding the Abes (1-1) to just 14 points until a late fourth-quarter score when the game out of reach. Prior to that, Lincoln’s only scores came on a pair of long first-half touchdowns.
The Vikings kept the Abes’ talented receiving corps in check, limiting quarterback Caden Filer to just 8-of-25 passing for 179 yards. Lake Stevens cornerback Kasen Kinchen, one of the state’s top-ranked junior recruits, came up with two interceptions.
“We challenged (Lincoln’s receivers) a little bit,” Tri said. “(We) came up, and if they were going to get us, get us over the top. And I thought we did a pretty good job of not getting beat over the top. … Really impressed with our corner play. Kasen, Gabe Ramsey, Skyler Reyna — all those guys really stepped up tonight.”
FAST START FOR LAKE STEVENS
Kinchen intercepted an errant pass on Lincoln’s opening drive and gave the Vikings good field position, returning the ball to the Abes’ 49-yard line. Lake Stevens’ offense took advantage, mounting a seven-play drive that Lewis capped with a 7-yard touchdown run for an early 7-0 lead.
Then after the Vikings’ defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Lincoln possession, Lake Stevens marched downfield again with a 63-yard scoring drive. Long capped it by rolling right and tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Skyler Reyna, who made a leaping catch over two defenders in the end zone to give the Vikings a 14-0 advantage midway through the opening quarter. Reyna finished with two touchdown receptions.
Facing an early 14-point deficit, Lincoln responded with a pair of long scoring plays.
The first came on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Filer to Armoni Bashay, who got past the Lake Stevens defense on what appeared to be a blown coverage. Then, on the Abes’ next possession, Filer burst up the middle on a quarterback keeper for a 36-yard game-tying score early in the second quarter.
After the two long touchdowns by Lincoln, Lake Stevens quelled the Abes’ momentum with a nine-play, 72-yard scoring drive. Long capped the drive by firing a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior Joseph Gonzales, giving the Vikings a 21-14 lead they never relinquished.
Lake Stevens added another score on its opening possession of the third quarter, when Kinchen took a fourth-and-4 wide-receiver screen pass 32 yards for a catch-and-run touchdown.
After that, Lincoln never truly threatened again. The Vikings led 38-14 late in the fourth.
Tre Long, sr., Lake Stevens: Long completed 23 of 33 passes for 239 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions while quarterbacking the Vikings’ balanced attack.
Tom Lewis, sr., Lake Stevens: Lewis rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Dallas Landeros, jr., Lake Stevens: Landeros ran for 102 yards on 18 carries.
Kasen Kinchen, jr., Lake Stevens: Kinchen, a two-way standout who has an offer from the University of Oregon, intercepted two passes on defense and had three receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Armoni Bashay, sr., Lincoln: Bashay caught three passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.
After opening its season with commanding non-league victories over 3A powers Ferndale and Lincoln, Lake Stevens takes a 31-game conference winning streak into next Friday night’s Wesco 4A opener at rival Monroe.
Each of the past two years, this highly anticipated matchup came in the regular-season finale and was a de facto winner-take-all Wesco 4A title game. The Vikings routed Monroe both times, extending their mastery of the Bearcats to 11 wins in the teams’ last 12 meetings.