Friday night football, George Kittle, and Big Bone, oh my!

Lions Football Players celebrating the big win.


Lions Football Players celebrating the big win.

For 79 years, the Big Bone tradition has held strong between Lincoln and San Jose High school. No longer held on Thanksgiving, this year the game was hosted at San Jose, but that didn’t stop fans from filling up the entire stadium. The bleachers were absolutely packed on both sides, forcing remaining fans to stand and spillover around the fence, all the way from the scoreboard to the entrance. 

The varsity team entered the game with a 1-0 season record due to the first home games of the football season, which took place on August 26. After extensive training and practice over the summer for the Junior Varsity and Varsity Football teams, both faced off against their first opponent, Leigh High School. Last season, both teams lost to Leigh, but this year the tables were turned. The JV team won their game 24-20, while Varsity won a close game, 16-13.

The home games were much anticipated, with the rival and home stands filled to the brink. Among the crowd for the Varsity game was George Kittle, tight end for the San Francisco 49ers. Invited by senior Xavier Souto, Kittle enjoyed the game from the sidelines, posting comments on his Twitter and pictures and videos on his Instagram.  

Four minutes remained in the game when senior Tayden Phillips managed to score a touchdown and connected with senior Salvador Espinoza on a two-point conversion, bringing the score to 8-7 and reviving their chances of winning. The stakes were raised even higher when the Leigh Longhorns scored yet again, raising the score to 8-13. With only four seconds left to go, the crowd was holding their breath. Once the ball was snapped to Phillips that collective breath was released, shifting into a deafening cheer as he scored another amazing touchdown. Everyone was on their feet when at 0.2 seconds he made an additional two point conversion, sealing the deal and winning the game for the Lions. 

“Multiple W’s tonight boys,” Kittle posted after the game, along with a thank you to Souto for the invite.

The Lions’ strong start to the season continued this past Friday during Big Bone with their 24th consecutive win over San Jose High School.  

Lincoln scored two touchdown passes within the first seven minutes and opened a 43-point halftime lead. Among the highlights of the game, quarterback for the team, Phillips, was 8-of-9 for 184 yards the first two quarters and completed 9 of 11 passes for 220 yards, rushing for 53 yards on four carries. His younger brother, freshman Kyan Phillips, also caught five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Kennedy Schoennaur made 8-of-8 field goals, and Espinoza ran for three touchdowns. 

Once halftime rolled around, both Little and Big Bone Royalty were announced. Energetic performances were given from the Convertibles as well as the cheerleaders from both teams, followed by a special appearance from San Jose’s Folklorico students. After a long process of nominations and voting, sophomores Barentu Areda and Jordyn Loud were selected as Little Bone king and queen, and seniors Tayden Phillips and Jacqui Junio won Big Bone king and queen.

Lions Cheerleaders and Leo the Lion jazz up the crowd
Sarah Baker

The Bulldogs put up a good fight in the second half of the game. Senior JP Aguiar, quarterback for San Jose, scored a total of 22 points and finished with a total of 255 yards, pushing through in the fourth quarter with his team and raising the final score to 56-28. 

After so many years of rivalry, fans and players of both teams kept the spirit of the tradition alive. It was Coach Collin’s 28th year coaching Big Bone, and the Lincoln community was able to enjoy and celebrate the experience of securing another win.

Lincoln’s Varsity Football team posing with the Big Bone trophy. (Sarah Baker)