Lincoln carries torch

David Garcia had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Not only did the Lincoln two-way lineman and the Mustangs football team top Lowell 29-22 for its second straight Turkey Bowl title, but for the first time, the winner of the San Francisco Section had more football to look forward to.

Friday, Lincoln (10-2) will travel to Laney College to play Oakland Section champion McClymonds in the inaugural Transbay Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

“Just getting to play another week of football and having another game is awesome,” Garcia said. “And now we want to prove we’re not just some city team that’s going to get beat by everyone.”

Friday’s game is part of California’s new expanded playoff system, in which Division I, II and III state championships will be decided by representatives from NorCal and SoCal for the first time since 1927. Only section champions are eligible for the games, to be held Dec. 16 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, which means Friday’s game is not a prerequisite for possible advancement.

But a win sure wouldn’t hurt, especially since both teams look like long shots to be selected.

McClymonds (9-2-1) is currently the fourth-ranked Division III school in Northern California by Cal-Hi Sports. A win would not boost Lincoln into contention in Division I.

“We’re looking at it like a bowl game, a reward for having a great year,” Lincoln coach Phil Ferrigno said. “We’re trying to have some fun this week.”

McClymonds beat Skyline 22-8 in the Oakland Athletic League’s Silver Bowl to advance to play Lincoln and Warriors coach Alonzo Carter said his team will have no trouble getting up for the extra game.

“It’s our Rose Bowl,” Carter said. “We’ve had this game marked on our calendar. I told the kids no one remembers that USC won the Pac-10 last year. All they remember them for is losing the national championship in the [Rose Bowl].”

Carter said there should be a number of college coaches in the stands and the Warriors will bring plenty of star power to the field. Senior running back Willie Griffin led Mack with 1,249 yards and eight touchdowns and will visit Washington after the game. Andre Island is also a threat out of the backfield, as the fleet-footed junior ran for 1,031 yards and eight scores.

Lincoln will look to play the same run-oriented offense and tight defense that worked so well all year. Junior running back David Henderson has 2,098 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns on the season, while fullback Phillippe Lewis (581 yards, eight TDs) will earn his yards up the middle.

“We feel like we’re not just representing Lincoln, but also our sectionand our city,” Lincoln tight end-linebacker Jose Medina said. “It’s a chance to show everyone we’re not some fluke team. It’s a statement game.”

TRANSBAY BOWL

Lincoln (10-2) vs. McClymonds (9-2-1)

WHEN: Friday, 4 p.m.

WHERE: Laney College, Oakland

melliser@examiner.com

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