Livingstone trounces Lincoln in home opener, 30-0

Published 8:20 pm Saturday, September 22, 2018

By David Shaw

SALISBURY — Livingstone’s football team began digging its way out of CIAA purgatory Saturday afternoon.

The upstart Blue Bears — winless in 10 games last season and starving for something to celebrate — got to pig out in the West End Classic at Alumni Stadium.

“We’re trying to put the CIAA on notice,” defensive end Devonte Adams said, moments after Livingstone opened its conference schedule with a 30-0 wipeout victory against visiting Lincoln. “We play team ball. And if we all do our jobs, this is what’s going to happen.”

It was a dominant display, particularly by the Livingstone defense, which notched the team’s second consecutive shutout. The Blue Bears (2-1 overall) forced two turnovers and limited winless Lincoln to 12 first downs and 176 total yards. The guests went 1-for-14 on third-down conversion attempts and 1-for-9 on fourth-down tries.

“That’s us doing our job,” said Adams, a sophomore from Atlanta who contributed four tackles and two sacks. “We’re going to bend a little bit, but we’re not breaking.”

Acting coach Rodney Hughey received a post-game Powerade bath for the second straight week.

“Only this time they surprised me,” he said. “Afterward, I told everyone to get on the 50-yard line and shake hands with the other team. Then I noticed that nobody was listening. They were all just standing around — and that’s when they got me. It came out of nowhere.”

So did the lopsided outcome. It was Livingstone’s first victory at home since a 23-12 nod over Shaw on Oct. 15, 2016. The loss was Lincoln’s fourth of the year and 22nd straight.

“I’m trying to teach these guys how to fight, how to play, how to win,” said first-year Lincoln coach Josh Dean. “It’s tough. It’s gonna take games like this for us to turn this thing around.”

Livingstone, it appears, has taken those significant first steps. It grabbed a 6-0 lead early in the second period when freshman quarterback Miles Hayes rolled out to his right side and lobbed a 20-yard touchdown pass over Lincoln’s secondary to wide-open to DeAndre Vickers.

“We had a sprint-out already set,” Hayes said after passing for 208 yards and three TDs. “When I saw the corner bite on it, we knew we had a shot over the top. We just executed it like we do in practice every day.”

Four minutes later, LC cornerback Gregory Hines made the defensive play of the game when he intercepted an Eban Jackson pass in the end zone.

“I was banking on my ball skills,” said Hines, a senior who has picked off a pass in each of Livingstone’s three games. “They had just gotten a first down, down on our 19-yard line. I remember I turned, I looked and I saw his eyes get real big. It was one of those make-the-plays-that-come-to-you moments.”

Hughey agreed. “When you go at Greg Hines, we expect those things to happen,” he said.

It helped Livingstone thwart a golden scoring chance and reverse the game’s momentum. Eight snaps later Hayes spiraled a 50-yard touchdown pass to flanker Everett Ransom for a 13-0 lead with 5:13 remaining in the half.

“We blew a lot of opportunities,” said Dean. “We must have had six or seven trips to the red zone and left with no points.”

Ransom, who made five receptions for 101 yards, later kidded with Hines outside the jubilant LC locker room.

“We’ve got a little bet going,” he said. “Every time (Hines) gets a pick, I’ve got to get a touchdown. So far I’m slacking.”

Livingstone padded a 16-0 halftime lead with a pair of third-period touchdowns. Hayes scrambled out of the pocket before finding tailback Marcus Baisy for a 17-yard score with 8:48 remaining in the quarter. Then following a productive punt return by Hines, Andrew Faraimo bulldozed into the end zone on a 14-yard run.

“We came in with a positive attitude,” Ransom said. “And we weren’t taking our foot off the gas for anybody.”

That’s fine with Hughey, who is keeping the coach’s seat warm for sidelined Daryl Williams.

“Two shutouts in a row is a great place to be,” he said. “But after tonight, it becomes last week. Next week becomes more important than last week. I like where we are and I like being on this run. But the only way to keep it going is to keep running.”

Running and digging.

NOTES: It’s the first time Livingstone has had consecutive shutout wins since 1994, when it opened that season with three. … The Blue Bears finished with 452 total yards, including 189 on the ground. Salisbury High grad Justin Ruffin led the charge with 92 yards on nine carries. … Former North Rowan quarterback Alexis Archie relieved Hayes in the fourth quarter. He passed for 55 yards and ran for 35. … The Blue Bears play at Virginia Union next Saturday afternoon.