“It burns. We’ve thought about it since day one,” said Lincoln Head Coach Kevin LaFavor.
“The game is still in the back of my mind a little bit, using it as motivation,” said Lincoln senior Jackson Beaman.
“It’s still in the back of our mind and stuff that I want to get there again. I want to win it this year,” said Lincoln senior Bo Kroenke.
Clearly, one game stands out above the rest to the Lincoln Cardinals from their historic 2018 season.
“The game was December 1st,” LaFavor said.
That’s the day Lincoln lost the Class 1 state title game to Hayti, giving the Cardinals just their second loss of the year.
The very next day, they turned the page to 2019.
“Took about 12 hours to move on to ‘we got to get it next year.’,” LaFavor said.
Now, ‘next year’ has arrived and the Cardinals bring back the core of last year’s group with seven seniors. Six of those seniors were all state selections a year ago.
“[They’re] very good players, we’re bringing back a lot of talent and a lot of skill,” LaFavor said.
That skill gives the Cardinals a fully healthy lineup this year with Jackson Beaman’s return at quarterback after only playing there half of last season due to injury.
That means backup QB, Bo Kroenke, returns full-time to wide receiver.
“It was an interesting experience, but I definitely like playing wide receiver more,” Kroenke said.
“Having Bo [Kroenke] to throw to all year is going to make it awesome,” Beaman said.
It’s part of the set up for a potentially special year for the Cardinals.
“It literally almost keeps me up at night,” Kroenke said. “I’m just so excited to get to football practice and to go.”
It’s also a set up more than a decade in the making, with this senior class having played together since the first grade.
“[To play] with my buddies, there’s nobody else I’d rather do it with and I just hope we can make it back and take the next step this year,” Beaman said.
With the potential there, it’s now just about earning the results.
“Going to the state championship, that’s cool but to us we got second place,” LaFavor said. “So to us, we haven’t earned anything yet.”
“I’ve thought about a few times, the last game of my high school career, hopefully walking off the field as a victor, with a victory,” Beaman said.
If that vision comes true, these Cardinals will have a much better reason to remember playing in a state championship game.