Dragons Throttle Links

Improve to 2-0 After 34-7 Win

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Matthew McKinney

Secure the Catch: After intially sending the field goal team on the field, head coach Mr. Mike Kayl decides to go for it on fourth and goal. “I tracked the ball through the air and came down with it for the touchdown,” senior Trevor Marshall said. The score pushed the Dragon’s lead to 13 points over Lincoln High.

The Dragons entered the game on a high note, coming off a resounding 30-7 win in Week One over Lincoln Southwest. The momentum did not carry over to the offense as expected in the first half, but the defense did more than pick up the slack throughout the game.
The Dragons stopped the Links on the first possession of the game, and took just two plays to score as sophomore quarterback Zane Flores dropped a pass over the middle to senior Jackson Alexander for a long touchdown. The point after was missed, but the Dragons grabbed the early lead. The rest of the half was all about the defense.
Lincoln High dominated the time of possession through the first two quarters, forcing the Gretna defense to have to respond, which they did. Senior Keaton Soucek was a big reason why, as he caused chaos in the backfield.
“I have been able to perform because of my defensive line,” Soucek said. “They have been eating up blocks for me. It allows me space to use my moves. My favorite move is to swipe their hands and I am a lot faster than a lot of these lineman, so I just use my speed.”
The defense did not allow Lincoln High to run an offensive play in the red zone and gave up zero points. The score was 6-0 Dragons over the Links at halftime.
The second half was where the Dragons really fired on all cylinders. Fittingly, the defense provided the spark. A recovered fumble by junior Joe Roll on Lincoln High’s 37-yard line just 4:34 into the third quarter set the Dragons up for their second score of the game. After a timeout call, Gretna sent their offense on the field instead of taking the field goal on fourth and goal from the six-yard line. On the play, Flores threw a high fade to the back of the endzone, where senior Trevor Marshall hauled in the ball for a touchdown; score Gretna 13, Lincoln High 0.

Wrapped Up: With defensive end Breken Heiman (21) closing in on the play, linebacker Keaton Soucek (21) makes a solid, fundamental tackle resulting in a loss of yardage for Lincoln High. “The play hypes up the defense and gives us momentum,” Soucek said. The starters on defense fed off of that momentum and did not allow a point. (Matthew McKinney)

The next two offensive drives for Lincoln resulted in turnovers. One was a fumble recovered after senior Tanner Hall punched the ball free. The other was an interception by junior Connor Edwards.
“I was in cover four, and I was backpedaling, saw the quarterback’s eyes and saw him launch the ball up and I just went and made a play,” Edwards said. “The interception was huge, as soon as we got that I felt like it set the bar for our offense and made them kick it up a notch.”
Two possessions later, Edwards did it again. With 1:47 left in the third quarter, he snatched his second interception of the game on a very similar play. The turnover led to the longest play of the game: a 51-yard touchdown run in the last minute of the third quarter by senior Nathan Minarik.
“I just try to get as many yards as I can on every play,” Minarik said. “I just wound up busting one out and took it to the house. It felt great once I got past the second level and into the open field.”
Following Minarik’s first touchdown on the season, the Dragons eased up, now leading 27-0. Coach Mike Kayl pulled his starters and let his depth chart gain some valuable varsity time. Each team would trade touchdowns down the stretch. Leaving the Gretna Dragons with a satisfying 34-7 victory over the Lincoln High Links. The win puts the Dragons at 2-0 on the season, with a hunger for winning heading into their week three matchup at Papillion La-Vista South.