Heavy hearts took the field for Lincoln High on Friday, mourning the loss of a former teammate and friend who passed away recently.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for us the past two weeks,” Hornets football coach David Dunn said.
“With the funeral and the wake for Demeatrice Hayes, getting the kids prepared for that, allowing them to grieve, we didn’t get the opportunity to practice much at all for this matchup. We were basically out here playing street ball.”
Hayes was an all-league performer for last year’s San Diego Section Division III championship team. Dunn wouldn’t elaborate on the circumstances of his death.
Mustering up strength, the emotional Hornets escaped Friday with an 18-16 win over host Kearny.
“Heart,” said Lincoln sophomore quarterback Tristan Youngblood. “That’s how we got it done.”
Youngblood completed 7-of-17 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Senior Marquel Jones had a 21-yard TD catch and two interceptions.
“I’m just so proud of these kids, coming out here and getting this win today after everything they’ve been through the past two weeks. It hit them hard,” Dunn said.
“We survived off pure effort and the will to win. The kids, including myself, had to dig deep because we weren’t able to prepare.”
The victory curbed a free fall for Lincoln (1-4). The Hornets have dealt with the injury bug, plus a number of transfer students haven’t suited up for games.
“Coach told me to listen to him and things would turn my way, and they did,” Youngblood said.
“That’s what led to those two touchdowns. I settled down and saw my receivers going up and grabbing that ball for us, so I let them make a play. I put my trust in Coach and the team.”