For the second time in three years, the Lincoln and Mission football teams will face off on Thanksgiving Day in the San Francisco Section championship.
The last time these two schools met in the Turkey Bowl was 2012, when Lincoln emerged with a 22-21 victory. A year later, the Mustangs beat Mission 18-12 in overtime in the playoff semifinals.
That history won’t be lost upon Mission, which rolled through Academic Athletic Association play this year with a 6-0 record and an average 33-point margin of victory. On Oct. 11, the Bears took down the Mustangs 32-18.
“They’re a good team,” Lincoln coach Phil Ferrigno said. “After all the work we’ve done, we want to play really well.”
In 13 years of coaching Lincoln, this is Ferrigno’s eighth appearance in the championship game. He’s missed the playoffs just three times. Over the past three years, the Mustangs have lost just two league games.
“It’s our job to get here,” Ferrigno said. “Everybody strives for it. We’ve been fortunate enough to do it.”
After shutting out Galileo 13-0 in Thursday’s semifinal, Ferrigno will need another stellar defensive performance to stop the hard-charging Bears, who are powered by multi-purpose playmakers. In Mission’s comprehensive 45-6 win over Balboa in the other semifinal, junior Anthony Porter (listed as a wide receiver) and senior Bran’Den Rodriguez (a 6-foot-2 tight end) had touchdown runs of 65 and 30 yards, respectively.
Then, there’s junior running back-safety Frank Hall’s habit of scoring from anywhere on the field (he has eight touchdowns in his last two games, five of which came on kick and punt returns).
Stopping Mustangs senior all-purpose back Jacquez Williams-Chish will be a priority for Mission. In the regular-season meeting, Williams-Chish amassed 245 all-purpose yards, including 193 on offense. He finished with two touchdowns.
Williams-Chish struggled to get going against Galileo in the semifinals. At halftime, he had rushed just 12 times for 29 yards, including a fumble. His two second-half touchdowns proved the difference, the second of which was a 51-yard scamper, on his 41st carry of the day, as time expired in the fourth quarter.
Mustangs senior Chris Peacock is another player to watch. While Williams-Chish coped with a dead leg sustained at the start of the second quarter against the Lions, which kept him out until halftime, Peacock stepped up. At the half, he had rushed 10 times for 54 yards, including rumbling for a 36-yard gain. With just more than a minute left in the fourth quarter, Peacock, who also plays linebacker, made the decisive interception of Lions quarterback Phillip Tran that effectively ended the game.
Ferrigno hails his team’s cohesiveness and focus. The Mustangs will need both to take down the Bears.
“It’s the championship game, and there’s a lot of hooplah, but we’ve just got to play the best we can,” said Ferrigno. “Joe’s done a great job [at Mission], getting his team to the championship game twice in the last three years. We’ll get our guys prepared. We’ll be all right.”