Isaiah Alford finally lived up to Lincoln High's motto in the fourth quarter, although to Links' fans he was probably doing just fine until that point.
Alford rushed 33 times for 268 yards, picking up 48 yards on his second-to-last carry in the Class A No. 7 Links' 66-31 victory over Kearney on Friday at Beechner Field.
"A motto we have as a team is '4 turns into 40.' That means every play, we need to get 4 yards because after a couple of carries, it's going to turn into 40 yards, an explosive play," said Alford. "We don't try to have big plays, we just take whatever we can get. Just take it play by play. Every play means the same to me."
Alford scored five touchdowns. He had runs of 22, 5, 4 and 2 yards and scored on a 10-yard fumble return after a Lincoln High kickoff.
"On the return, I had made contact but he slipped out and my teammate was there to grab him," said Alford. "As soon as he grabbed him, I saw the ball was loose so I grabbed it, turned it around and took it to the house.
"OK, I lied. That is the touchdown I will remember."
Lincoln High coach Mark Macke said Alford's game wasn't a surprise.
"That's just the way he is. The wrestling creates a lot of balance and he doesn't go down easily," Macke said of the two-time state wrestling champion. "He was just grinding it out tonight, so I was pleased. He's shifty, physical."
The Links had 680 yards of total offense, with quarterback Cedric Case throwing for 393 yards and four touchdowns. His top receiver was Jaden Horton, who caught seven passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns and he also had an interception that set up a score.
"It's just chemistry, to me. Playing together for 10 years, we know what we can do," said Horton. "He knows to high-point the ball and I can go up and get it. We know each other's abilities."
The Links raced down the field on their first possession and Case capped the drive with a 20-yard scoring toss to Horton.
Alford's first score, a 22-yard run, came after C.J. Jones recovered a Kearney fumble to set up the drive and gave the Links a 14-0 lead.
Kearney quarterback Brayden Miller raced 32 yards on the next play and then found Tristan Southwell for a 24-yard score.
The Links had a touchdown negated by a penalty, but Alford's 5-yard run made it 21-7 going to the second quarter.
Kearney capitalized after recovering a Lincoln High fumble when Parker Brush trimmed the lead to 21-14 with a 2-yard run.
Alford capped a 12-play drive with a 4-yard TD run and got his fourth score of the half on the ensuing kickoff. He stripped the ball from the Kearney returner and sprinted 10 yards into the end zone for a 35-14 lead.
Kearney needed just 30 seconds to cut the lead to 35-21 at halftime when Miller hit Cale Masters with a 16-yard scoring pass.
The Links forced Kearney to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Gabe Heins to open the second half. Alford Capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard run. Case and Horton hooked up for a 34-yard pass to spark the drive.
Horton then picked off Miller and hooked up with Case for a 31-yard touchdown and a 49-24 lead. Case found Darius Luff for a 29-yard score. Kearney countered with Miller's 13-yard run, but Horton got his third TD catch early in the final period with a 26-yard catch.
LINCOLN HIGH 66, KEARNEY 31
LHS--Horton 20 pass from Case (Izaguirre kick)
LHS--Alford 22 run (Izaguirre kick)
K--Southwell 24 pass from Miller (Heins kick)
LHS--Alford 5 run (Izaguirre kick)
K--Brush 2 run (Heins kick)
LHS--Alford 4 run (Izaguirre kick)
LHS--Alford 10 fumble return (Izaguirre)
K--Masters 16 pass from Miller (Heins kick)
K--FG Heins 26
LHS--Alford 2 run (Izaguirre kick)
LHS--Horton 31 pass from Case (Izaguirre kick)
LHS--Luff 29 pass from Case (Izaguirre)
K--Miller 13 run (Heins kick)
LHS--Horton 29 pass from Case (Izaguirre)
LHS--FG Izaguirre 25
RUSHING--Kearney, Miller 14-100, Kemp 3-minus 2, Brush 1-2, Hagemann 1-minus 1, Maessner 2-20, Masters 1-25; LHS, Alford 33-268, Case 2-12, Ellis 1-6, Miller 2-7.
PASSING--Kearney, Miller 15-30-1, 248 yards; LHS, Case 27-35-0, 393 yards.
RECEIVING--Kearney, Stroh 3-57, Southwell 4-59, Masters 3-50, Kemp 1-minus 1, Maessner 2-51, Hagemann 1-11; LHS, Horton 7-158, Perry 5-70, Luff 2-36, Miller 1-25, Goodwin 2-27, Jones 5-64, Ellis 2-15, Pawnell 3-8.