2016 In Review: The Lions were 6-5, losing to Bernards in the Central Jersey Group 2 semi-finals after beating Raritan. They scored 268 points for a 26.8 average*, while allowing 192 for a 19.2 average, including two shutouts. Wins included Mountain Lakes, Caldwell, and Whippany Park; while their losses included St. Peter’s Prep, Irvington, Westwood, and Hoboken. *Not including forfeit win over West Side.
Departures: LB Alex Lozano - Delaware State, RB Kamani Addison - Washburn (Ks.), LB James Burgess - Ellsworth JC (Iowa), C Evan Lawton - Hocking JC (Ohio), OL Marquise Trent - Hocking JC (Ohio), Myers - Hocking JC (Ohio), DT Mohamed Elola - Bethany (WV), OL Tony Galvez - Bethany (WV), LB Shakeem Clarke - sprint football at Caldwell College
Offense: Lincoln runs a multiple spread and returns three starters. The quarterback will be junior Jamar Casey (5-foot-7, 155), who started at wide receiver last year. In reserve is freshman Dayshawn Brooks (5-foot-11, 160). Running back will have a mix of senior Jawon Leseur (5-foot-9, 175), junior Felix Igiri (5-foot-9, 190), junior Corey Lee (5-foot-7, 165), and senior Jai’el Bethea (5-foot-9, 175).
Wide receiver returns senior Desmond Stevens (5-foot-7, 165) and he will have company with Bethea, senior Jeremiah Jameson (6-foot-4, 190), senior Yasaan Jackson (5-foot-7, 165), junior Jahquinn Wembley (5-foot-11, 175), and junior Chris Pena (5-foot-8, 165). If a tight end is used, it will be Jameson.
The lone returnee on the line is senior guard Jakih Diaz (6-foot-6-foot-5, 330). Playing opposite him is senior Colin Gordon-Green (6-foot-2, 305), who would have played, but missed time with an illness and he may be pushed for time by freshman Jay Prileau (5-foot-11, 280). The center will be junior Cottrell Hatchett (5-foot-11, 240) and sophomore Elijah Williams (6-foot-1, 235) will man one tackle. The other tackle has a three-way competition among senior Charles Bailey (6-foot-0, 235), sophomore Damian Martinez (6-foot-2, 250), and Prileau.
Defense: The Lions play a 4-2-5 cover-three and return three starters. Returning at end is junior Christian Bautista (6-foot-0, 195) and Hatchett will probably play opposite him, with senior Kevin Gleaton (6-foot-2, 235) pushing him. Tackle has a battle among senior Errol Allen (5-foot-11, 250), Gordon-Green, Gleaton, sophomore Charlie Austin (6-foot-1, 285), and junior Jalen Woodham (5-foot-9, 195).
Linebacker has Igiri, Bethea, senior Xavier Gaston (5-foot-10, 190), junior Tymir Law (5-foot-9, 165), and junior Messiah Green (5-foot-8, 170) in the mix. Kevin Winston (6-foot-1, 205), a senior, is a transfer who started at Hoboken last year and will sit out the 30 days.
Two starters return to the secondary in Jackson at one strong safety and Laseur at cornerback, moving from linebacker. Battling at cornerback are Stevens, junior Elijah Sparkman (6-foot-0, 160), and Casey - who played last year at safety. Playing at the other strong safety is senior Jordan Davis (6-foot-0, 175) and Wembley will be the free safety.
Special Teams: Corey Lee will be the kicker and Casey will be punt. Return men are Bethea and junior Jamonte Cunningham (5-foot-7, 155)
Friday, 9/8, at Irvington, 7PM
Saturday, 9/16, Mountain Lakes at home, 12PM
Friday, 9/22, at Whippany Park, 7PM
Saturday, 9/30, Hoboken at home, 1PM
Saturday, 10/7, Parsippany at home, 1PM
Friday, 10/13, at Caldwell, 7PM
Friday, 10/20, Mater Dei at home, 4PM (game at Lincoln Park, Jersey City)
Saturday, 10/28, St. Peter’s Prep at home, 12PM
Friday, 11/3, at Westwood, 7PM
Concerns: Youth and inexperience at quarterback and linebacker. In addition, depth is a question at defensive tackle.
Recruiting: Gordon-Green has interest from Stony Brook and Southern Connecticut, with Davis also having interest from Southern Connecticut. Jackson and Leseur are D2/D3 types. Winston has interest from Pace and Wagner. Diaz and Jameson will play somewhere.
Among juniors, Igiri, Hatchett, Bautista, and Wembley are 1-AA type players, while Casey is D2.
Coach’s Comments: “We’re optimistic. There is a good mix of youth and experience. It is a hungry team that is not overly big, but we’re big enough. This is an athletic and fast team with high character that is unified and put in a good off-season in the weight room. We’re doing it the Bill Belichick way, finding grinders vs. flashy kids. This is a likeable, hard working team with big game experience.” - Head Coach Robert Hampton