LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL — Monday will be Desean Crawford’s 17th birthday. It’s one of three October birthdays for the Lincoln football team’s starters, including quarterback Jovon Baker (Friday) and do-everything two-way athlete Jack Gaughan (Tuesday). The trio got together and took home a big present on Friday, in a grudge match against Galileo.
In their first meeting last season, Baker broke his thumb on defense, and didn’t play the rest of the year. It was the first of two losses to the Lions, including a heartbreaker in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals, when a 76-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run by Yarvell Smith ended the Mustangs’ season.
With Lincoln sporting an undefeated record coming into Friday against the 6-1 Lions, the Mustangs got their revenge, holding the explosive Smith to a paltry 18 rushing yards, while Crawford, the green-haired senior, rushed for a season-best 223 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in a 52-18 win, dealing Galileo its first loss since Week 3 against Rio Vista.
“Last year was tough, but like I tell everybody, every game’s tough in AAA, because you’re playing against your friends and people you know,” said head coach Phil Ferrigno. “It’s always tough. Last year, they’re state champs. We’re pumped up.”
Crawford had run for more than 200 yards three other times this season — 207 against Piedmont, 201 against Mt. Eden and 201 against Capuchino — but he hasn’t run for five touchdowns since Pop Warner, when he rushed for seven when he was 10-years old.
“He’s unbelievable, right?” Ferrigno said. “He just knows. He’s a 5-foot-6, 175-pound wrecking ball, and he’s got some juice. He was the best running back on that field today.”
“Got to give props to the line,” Crawford said. “We knew what they were going to run, and we just executed.”
The holes Crawford ran through were massive. On a four-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, he didn’t have a defender within three yards of him, on either side.
“The O-line did a great job,” said Baker. “They couldn’t stop him.”
The Mustangs (7-0, 3-0 in AAA) scored on each of their first eight drives on the day, and it was Crawford who scored the first four touchdowns.
Crawford averaged 7.2 yards per carry on 31 touches with just one negative carry, and had 147 yards by halftime. Thirty-eight of those yards came on the first drive, which he ended with a seven-yard touchdown after a 45-yard scamper by Baker — who broke his thumb on defense during last season’s first meeting between the two teams — with 8:38 to go in the first quarter.
On the Mustangs’ second drive, he ran six times for 46 yards, including a two-yard score with 2:18 to go. After a five-play empty drive by the Lions, Crawford rushed for 17 yards as Lincoln settled for a 32-yard field goal by Isaac Kolberg.
Galileo (6-2, 3-1) recovered its own punt and drove 37 yards for a score, making up for two tackles for loss with a 52-yard bomb from Ronald Fox to Reese Bickart on a busted coverage by Baker to cut the score to 17-6 with 5:12 to go in the first period. It was one of three catches on the day for Bickart, who piled up 100 receiving yards.
Five plays later, Crawford found the end zone again with a four-yard plunge.
Fox, who went 6-for-11 for 208 yards before leaving with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter after his cleat got caught in the grass, responded by hitting Michael Duran between Baker and Luis Contreras for a 41-yard gainer. That set up a 21-yard screen pass to Smith with 2:45 to go, making the score 24-12. It was his biggest play of the day, and his only play over 10 yards.
“We know they like to go to the outside, so we try to keep that stout, make sure they don’t hit us up the gut and play along the line of scrimmage and get 11 hats on the ball,” Ferrigno said. “I thought that was a pretty damn great defensive game.”
Leading that defensive effort was Julian Aguirre, who had a sack, several quarterback pressures and a tackle for no gain. Six-foot-three James Walsh had a sack and a pass which he batted down at the line like he was rejecting a jump shot in the post.
“Their run defense is ridiculous,” said Galileo head coach Marcus Blacksher. “They’re disciplined. They come hard. Their defensive line is huge, our offensive line is small. [Walsh] is pretty good. We expected this. We’re going to get everybody’s best, and we understand that. We’ll make adjustments. We’re excited to see them again, for sure.”
After a Gaughan six-yard run and an option flip to Crawford for 13 yards, Baker hit Eugene Larios for a 15-yard gain, and Crawford finished the drive with a 10-yard run with 55.6 seconds to go in the half to give the Mustangs a 31-12 lead.
Out of the break, it was Baker’s turn to find the end zone, as he finished an eight-play drive with a one-yard QB sneak. After Crawford blocked a Galileo punt, Baker again found the end zone, with a two-yard run with 6:13 to go in the third.
With Fox going down hard on a sack by Leonardo Gallegos and Tyree Cross, Smith stepped in at quarterback briefly, before Matthew Tu took over. The 5-foot-3 Tu stepped up from the 20 and evaded pressure, finding Duran with 2:06 left for a score, but that was the last gasp for the Lions on offense. Crawford trotted in from 18 yards out on the next drive for the final score with 10:36 to go, starting the running clock.
Smith went down tackling Crawford on that drive, but had been trying to fight through a thumb injury for a series, and exited before Crawford’s score. Smith will return next week against Washington.
Fox will rest his sprained ankle next week, and with a bye after that, he’ll be fresh for the finale against Balboa. Tu, who competed for the starting spot this fall with Fox, will start next week.
Galileo junior center Rafael Oropeza, who went down in Week 1, will return against the Eagles, though he may sit and come back in the finale against the Buccaneers. Senior tackle Mikah Coleman will also return from injury against Washington.