Vincennes Lincoln didn't need style points to beat Memorial and clinch winning season
- Final: Vincennes Lincoln 6, Memorial 0
EVANSVILLE — There were several reasons this game could have gone differently for Vincennes Lincoln.
Its best player is on the mend against an opponent with a defense rated among the best in its class. Throw in a blistering wind to make any kick a gamble. This type of game hadn't gone the Alices' way in recent years.
Except it did on Friday. That's telling of the type of season this team is having.
Vincennes Lincoln left town with a 6-0 win against No. 8 Memorial at Enlow Field. Few style points were earned, if any, in this game. That doesn’t matter. What does is the result.
“You have to win ugly,” said Vincennes Lincoln coach Levi Salters. “Once we had some success moving the ball up front, our kids got a little confidence. We tried to pick and choose our moments. Have the defense go win it.”
The question in the summer was whether the Alices could take that breakthrough step. Last year provided positive momentum, but a handful of winnable games turned into losses. With considerable experience returning, they hoped this fall would be different.
Vincennes Lincoln (6-2) has answered. Its first win against Memorial since 2002 was the program’s third against a ranked opponent this season. The Alices also clinched their first winning campaign since joining the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference.
Now they're tied for second place going into the final week of the regular season.
“You can tell the culture is really starting to change,” said junior Luke Lindsey. “That’s exactly what we want to do. We have to keep putting in the work and believing in ourselves. We couldn’t have (won) without the o-line, my backs, the defense and the coaching staff.”
What has sparked this turnaround? Look no further than the reason for the latest win.
The Tigers (6-2) were unofficially held to 97 yards and 0-for-9 on third-down attempts. Vincennes also corralled a pair of interceptions including a key pick with Memorial across midfield in the second half.
The Alices have posted two shutouts in a season for the first time since 2014.
“Our defensive line completely had their way up front,” said Salters. “(Memorial) gave up on the run game in the second half. Those kids (on the line) just played tremendous.”
This result is also impressive considering who isn’t playing. Xander Hunt, , is still out with a knee injury suffered three weeks ago. Vincennes was blanked on the scoreboard last week without him.
Although the Alices didn’t find the end zone this week either, it ground out tough yards in key moments. Brayton McCrary ended the game with a first-down run through the heart of the Tigers’ defense. Luke Lindsey also hit Darrius Hill for a couple of long gains on the sideline. Watch for sophomore Mac McCormick as a key name in the future too.
Lindsey went 2-for-4 on field goal attempts with makes from 28 and 33 in the first half.
“He pretty much does it all,” Salters said of the slot receiver turned quarterback. “He punts, quarterback, receiver, whatever you ask. When you have kids like him, you’re going to win a lot of football games.”
Memorial lost its second straight game despite another strong defensive effort. It struggled to move the ball against the Vincennes’ defensive line with junior receiver Luke Ellspermann finishing with 86 total yards.
The ceiling for the Alices will be determined when Hunt returns. The offense is more explosive with him commanding attention from opponents. But the entire roster has improved year over year. This might become a dangerous team in the postseason.
“It’s all about a mindset,” said McCrary. “You have to come into the game thinking you’re going to win. We’ve put our name out there. A lot of people doubted us. We’re just going to keep our heads up and prove that we’re it.”
Follow Courier & Press sports reporter Kyle Sokeland on X (formerly Twitter) @kylesokeland.