Sept. 14 at the Hive’s Vic Player Stadium.
The loss dropped the struggling Pointers to 1-2 on the young season with just two non-league tuneup games before Western League action begins next month. Lincoln improved to 2-1.
On a day when game-time temperatures hovered in the 90s, it was the Hornets who jumped on the Pointers early, putting up 10 points in the first 5:27 of the game on the strength of an opening-drive field goal and a first-possession Dog fumble that was returned 30 yards for a touchdown.
The Pointers spent much of the game trying to get their sputtering offense in gear as a large but inexperienced front line labored through another trial-by-fire.
Once again, the Pointer defense did its best to keep its team in the game, not allowing another Lincoln point for two quarters.
When the Pointers’ first drive of the second half stalled, Miguel Alcantar’s punt bounced off a surprised Hive player, with alert Grant Wilburn recovering the ball at midfield, the first of several big plays for the senior cornerback.
At this point, Branden Martin replaced starting quarterback Avery Cramer and, on a keeper, raced up the middle to score from 50 yards on the first play, firing up the Pointer bench as they pulled to within three, 10-7.
That momentum swing was boosted when Wilburn picked off a Hornet pass on the Hive’s next possession. But that was short-lived as the Pointers lost the ball again on a fumble two plays later.
This time, the Hornets drove to the end zone, taking a 16-7 lead after a failed extra-point conversion.
The game was still a toss-up in the fourth quarter after Sydney Rush scampered 15 yards for a Pointer score, cutting the deficit to 16-14 with 8:08 remaining.
A second Hornet field goal, however, proved the fatal blow as the Pointers furiously attempted to score a winning third touchdown.
“We had a lot of mistakes and turnovers — things we’ve got to correct,” said Pointer head coach Mike Hastings afterward. “But our kids have a lot of heart, supported each other and never quit. We’ve got a young group and we will get better.”
The Pointers return home to face Morse (also 1-2) Sept. 21 at Pete Ross Stadium. The Tigers are led by college prospects Tracy McNair Jr. and Alfonso Wilson. Morse is coached by McNair’s father. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.
On Sept. 28, the Dogs trot up Interstate 15 for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Scripps Ranch High School. The Falcons started 0-3 this season, but have played county powers Eastlake and Poway. The Pointers topped the Falcons 31-21 last year.
• Wilburn also broke up a second-quarter Lincoln pass in the end zone, preventing a touchdown, to go along with his fumble recovery and interception.
• Sophomore defensive lineman Jake Virissimo had a fumble recovery.
• The Pointer junior varsity posted a 27-0 victory and the freshmen squad notched a 35-2. Both teams remain undefeated.
• Key Pointer defenders Tanner Manion and Jake Wambaugh remained out with injuries.