LINCOLN — As powerful as they are on the field, the Lincoln Cardinals may be even more dangerous in the locker room.
Cardinals head coach Kevin LaFavor described halftime meetings as a back-and-forth discussion. Those exchanges have helped Lincoln build on one and two-score differences with Adrian, Windsor and Sweet Springs.
“We never want to do the same thing twice,” LaFavor said. “Our goal is to always make more adjustments, be able to change, and our kids do that well.”
The Cardinals scored 19 unanswered points in the third quarter to help beat Cole Camp 42-13 and secure a third undefeated regular-season record in four years.
Nearing the 2,000 yard passing threshold before the game, Lincoln senior Jackson Beaman rushed for three touchdowns, passed for another and intercepted a pass in the end zone.
At the midway point, Beaman offered a simple pointer — and a rallying cry.
“Run the ball,” Beaman said. “We were talking about flipping the switch. About being who we are.”
Beaman recorded 21st rushing score of the season, and 50th overall, on a five-yard carry before the end of the third. After missing four games last season, Beaman said has tried to make the most of his remaining time on the turf in Lincoln.
“You really find out how blessed you are,” Beaman said. “God blessed you to be on the field. You don’t give away those opportunities. … It being my senior year, I didn’t get to play much last year, I only got 15 more of these left, hopefully.”
Lincoln junior Levi Betts intercepted a pass in Cole Camp territory to end the Bluebirds’ first series of the second half, and Beaman finished the drive. Beaman framed a TD run for Engles with a 42-yard carry with 7:58 on the scoreboard and crossed the goal line from five yards out with less than three minutes remaining in the period.
“That’s what we needed to do,” LaFavor said. “Kind of put that one away. Confidence rises from there.”
The Cardinals marched down the field on the first drive of the game, scoring on an eight-yard rush from Engles. Positioned at the Cole Camp 12 after a punt return and penalty, the Beaman rushed twice and scored on a 10-yard carry to give the Cards a 13-0 lead.
Bluebirds senior Ethan Ives toe-tapped a completion at the Lincoln 1 and Harms found paydirt in the next play. A missed point-after attempt left Cole Camp trailing 13-6.
Connecting on a third-and-long reception, Beaman again found senior Bo Kroenke for a 29-yard TD in the back of the end zone. Kroenke took a bow after helping the Cards to a 20-6 lead with 2:45 to halftime.
Cole Camp senior Garrett Fisher intercepted a pass with 25 seconds before halftime. Lincoln senior Tanner Bays sacked Harms on the next snap and forced the kicking unit onto the field, rushing Harms into an incompletion on second down. The Bluebirds missed a 22-yard field goal attempt to end the series.
In the fourth, Lincoln junior Devon Parrott hit a 39-yard field goal attempt and the Bluebirds, set up by a 60-yard gain from senior Landon Baalman, scored with 7:47 on a short reception to freshman Ethan Shearer.
Losing in the Class 1 Show-Me Bowl last year, the Cardinals (9-0) finish the 2019 regular season atop Class 1, District 3 standings and are ranked No. 1 in the most recent Missouri Media Poll.
Cole Camp (5-4) finished in the middle of the Class 1, District 3 standings, behind Lockwood, Skyline and the Cardinals.
Alex Agueros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @abagueros2.