Even for the Public League, this is a weird situation.
How else would you describe the luck of the Lincoln football team that has won two straight games — without actually stepping onto the field?
The Railsplitters have been credited with two straight forfeited wins over Thomas Edison and Olney Charter, albeit for different reasons. Two weeks ago, Edison forfeited its game against Lincoln due to low player numbers (translation: the eligibility of several players came into question). Then, because of an all-out brawl in the Olney-Southern game that same week that was initiated by the Olney side, they forfeited the following week’s game against Lincoln, and permanently removed four players from Olney’s team.
The decision to cancel the Olney-Lincoln game came after the principals of Olney and Southern, as well as Public League sports head Robert Coleman, reviewed the incident and deemed Olney completely culpable.
All the while, Lincoln had to give up its game for a second straight week. They haven’t played since a 12-6 loss to Furness on Sept. 28.
“It’s not good for the league,” Lincoln Coach Ed McGettigan said on Monday afternoon as his team practiced in the rain. “It’s not something that happens all the time, and these two instances don’t reflect on the coaches. It’s not as if they planned to have Lincoln lose two games from the schedule, that’s just unfortunately how the chips fell. It was the coaches’ and principals’ decision, as well as Robert Coleman’s, and I agree with it based on what happened.”
The good news is that the forfeits give Lincoln two wins within the AAAA Silver Division, tying them atop the division with Furness and Mastbaum at 3-1. The bad news? Winning without playing has kept the Railsplitters off the field; now, they must shake off the rust heading into Friday afternoon’s critical home game against Mastbaum.
“The biggest challenge is that they’re not getting to play in game situations,” McGettigan said. “I also feel so bad for the seniors, who have to miss two games of their high school careers, the ones where you make your memories. But I can’t stress how positive they’ve been and how great out practices have been.”
McGettigan said the Lincoln seniors —namely quarterback Miguel Sanchez, backs Durrell Dixon and Giovanni Johnson and lineman John Lewis — deserve a ton of credit for keeping the team focused in this strange time.
“This is a good group of kids, and I’m very proud of them,” McGettigan said. “They’re doing marvelous things on the field, as well as in the classroom. Unfortunately the last two weeks we haven’t been able to do anything on the field, but we will this week.”
The Railsplitters’ sights remain set on their preseason goal of making the playoffs. A win on Friday can put them one step closer.
Above all else, McGettigan wants a good, clean game, hopefully devoid of any incidents like the one that occurred in the Southern-Olney game.