Lincoln Park’s defense stands tough, shuts out Payton

Lincoln Park's Jake Dowell (19) looks to pass as Payton's Carlos Eloisa (71) defends. September 2, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun Times.

Lincoln Park lineman Davien Day was not going to let Payton quarterback Erik Haneberg into the end zone on Saturday at Lane Stadium. The 5-10, 243 pound senior took the Lions’ two goal-line stands quite seriously.

“I couldn’t let everyone down,” Day said. “Everyone on this team works so hard. I’m the nose. I’m in the center. I can’t let them come through my space, I have to dominate that domain. No matter how hard someone comes at me I have to come ten times harder.”

Day and the defense led Lincoln Park to a 14-0 win against the Grizzlies. The Lions’ stopped Haneberg on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter and forced an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-goal at the 4 with 3:18 to play.

“The boys played really well on defense,” Lincoln Park coach Vince DeFrancesco said. “It’s all about attitude on the goal line. They didn’t want to give up any points. We knew what they were going to do, it was just a matter of if we could stop that quarterback trap. [Payton] did a really nice job and [Haneberg] is a really good athlete, but our guys just buckled down and made the plays.”

Lincoln Park (1-1) scored on its first possession, a nine-play drive capped off by Jake Dowell’s 15-yard touchdown pass to 6-6 senior receiver Terrence Shannon. Dowell connected with Gabe Medina for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, then the rain came and made things difficult offensively for both teams.

“I’m an unconventional quarterback,” Dowell said. “have small hands. I can wing it when it’s dry but when it is wet I know my boundaries. We hand it to [running back Tavares Bean] who has been getting it done for four years.”

Dowell radiates poise and confidence. He’s started at quarterback for three years.

“He’s a vocal leader, such a great captain,” DeFrancesco said. “He’s just a steady kid. We really count on him for a lot.”

Bean was the only player on either team able to get much done in the wet second half. He finished with 20 carries for 161 yards.

Dowell was 12-for-18 for 151 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“[Bean] was the first guy I met when I moved to Chicago,” Dowell said. “This backfield has been together for four years. We have 17 or 18 guys total back from last year. We are a family, we’ve never been closer. We are ready to get to the next level.”

The Lions lost at Geneseo 31-13 in Week 1. It was a stern test, but getting on the scoreboard gave them some confidence.

“That’s a program people know all around the state,” Dowell said. “There were a few pivotal moments where we could have been in that game. We came in here confident that we could handle [Payton].”

Haneberg rushed 18 times for 86 yards. He finished 16-for-32 passing for 119 yards and two interceptions. Payton (1-1) wasn’t able to break open any big plays.

“Our first drive we moved the ball well,” Grizzlies coach George Klupchak said. “We saw some things where we thought we’d be able to run the ball, but we didn’t have as much success as we were looking for.”

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