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Lincoln running back Devell Jones (4) gets ahead of Madison's Joe Mobley on this carry against Dodgers which was part of outstanding performance while leading the Jersey City school to 36-6 North 2, Group 2 semifinal victory on Saturday in Madison. (Photos by Nick Muscolino-nickmphoto.smugmug.com)

Lincoln's Frank Darby (8) goes up high for pass thrown his way in end zone

Lincoln's Jason Harrison (11) gets ahead of Madison's Mike Farrell (1) to haul in pass during Saturday's North 2, Group 2 semifinal playoff game in Madison.

Lincoln's Zymire Gordon (1) takes off down right side of field vs. Madison

Lincoln's Devell Jones (4) breaks away from Madison defenders on long run

Lincoln's swarming defense, here with Jalen Scott (55) and Ronnie Young (29) combining on tackle, made life difficult for the Madison offense on Saturday.

Jones-Propelled Lincoln Sparkles
While Roaring By Madison, 36-6
By Sean Reilly
For sidelinechatter.com

MADISON --- Devell Jones is a student of football. 

The Lincoln running back tries to learn things watching pro and college games on television that he can apply himself, and he's also developed a few theories that he attaches to the contests that he is competing in. 

One such rule came into play on Saturday, when his third-seeded team visited second-seeded Madison in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 playoffs. 

"I believe that when a team goes ahead by 14 points, they should win the game," he said. 

Thanks in part to the offense that that the 6-0, 215-pound senior created, Lincoln forged that lead in the second quarter.

And with the help of other big plays that were fueled by a dominant performance by the line, the Jersey City team extended the margin during the second half. 

The end result was a convincing 36-6 triumph that earned Lincoln a championship date against top-seeded and defending champion Mountain Lakes, 10 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 7, at MetLife Stadium. 

It was clear from the first few snaps that Madison was going to have trouble against an opponent that was simply bigger and stronger than any opponent it had faced since its 24-15 loss at Mountain Lakes in the first game of the season. And Lincoln may even be stronger than the Herd in certain phases. 

"We didn't play a good football game," said Madison coach Chris Kubik, whose team lost at Lincoln, 28-26, in the first round last year. "But we did play hard. We just got beat by a better team. 

Lincoln ran 44 times for 331 yards, led by Jones, who totaled 195 yards and scored twice on 22 carries. Zymire Gordan, the Lions quarterback, ended 5 of 9 for 87 yards. He passed for one TD and ran for another. Kamani Addison had 123 yards on six carries, including an 81 yard TD run in the fourth quarter. 

Madison, in contrast gained 115 rushing yards and added just 46 more in the air. The Dodgers had only 23 yards and one first down in the first half, which ended with Lincoln in control, 22-6. 

Jones rushed 15 times for 143 yards over the first two quarters, as the beefy front that included Leo Wilson (6-3, 315), Daisjon Robinson (6-1, 270), Markese Trent (6-3, 305) and Terence Barfield (6-2, 250)  owned the line of scrimmage. 

"They did a great job," Jones said. "Some of us have also played a long time together and we communicate really well with each other during the game." 

The tone was set when Madison opened up with a three-and-out series and Lincoln followed with a five-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Gordan throwing a 4-yard TD pass to Frank Darby with 8:04 left in the first quarter. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Madison made a big play late in the period when Zach Shupe stripped a Lincoln ball carrier to give his team possession at the Lions' 11. Dom Luppino scored three plays later on a 1-yard carry. The extra point attempt was no good, leaving the score 6-6 with 1:01 left in the quarter. 

Madison's hopes for a momentum swing were short lived. 

Jones immediately ran 33 yards to bring the ball to the Dodgers' 37, and Gordan scored three plays later on a 23-yard keeper. A successful conversion pass gave Lincoln a 14-6 lead with 29 seconds elapsed in the second quarter. 

Madison suffered another blow on the ensuing series when mobile quarterback A.J. Schmitz sprained his ankle on a keep that resulted in no gain. 

He sat for a while and later returned, and even resumed his punting duties despite a heavy tape job on his foot. But the senior was clearly hobbled by the injury. 

Lincoln, meanwhile, mounted a 10-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Jones scoring on a 1-yard surge with 1:22 to go before the break. Jones also tacked on a conversion run for a 16-point spread. 

Madison fumbled a punt return that gave Lincoln a first down at the Dodgers' 22 near the midpoint of the third quarter. Jones scored from 4 yards out soon after for a 28-6 score. 

Lincoln's final TD came on an 81-yard run by Addison with just under two minutes left. 

Madison has one more game left, when it plays host to Millburn (2-7) on Thanksgiving morning. 

"This is a great group of kids, and I'm glad I get to coach them one more time on this field," Kubik said. 

The coach was also proud of the way that Schmitz played despite the score and pain that may have been emanating from his ankle. 

"He's a leader and a captain for a reason," Kubik said. "He's a great kid and a great competitor." 

Notes: Lincoln became the first team to beat Madison in consecutive years since the Dodgers fell to Delbarton, Lakeland, DePaul and Orange in the 2007 and  2008 seasons. ... Lincoln also has a holiday tilt coming later in the week against winless Snyder. ... Mike Dalena and Mike Farrell had interceptions for Madison. Darby made two interceptions for Linclon, including one in the end zone that he returned to the Madison 42. ... Lincoln played Mountain Lakes in last year's sectional semifinals and lost, 45-12. The Lions' only loss this season was a 32-8 defeat at Union City on Oct. 3.

Lincoln            6      16      6      8     ---  36

Madison           6       0       0      0    ---  6

L - Frank Darby 4 pass from Zymire Gordan  (run failed)

M - Dom Luppino  1 run (kick failed)

L - Gordan 23 run (Jarrell Payne pass from Jason Harrison)

L- Devell Jones 1 run (Jones run)

L- Jones 4 run (run failed)

L- Kamani Addison 81 run (Nyeem Riley pass from Gordan)

Records: Lincoln 9-1, Madison 8-2

Follow Sean Reilly on Twitter @SeanReillyHS

Madison's David Luttinger (right) looks to ward off Lincoln's Frank Darby

Lincoln's Devell Jones (4) proved more than a handful for Madison's defense

 

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