The stage was set for it to be a magical night for the Lincoln Abes and their fans at Lincoln Bowl.
It was Lincoln’s home opener, alum and retired NFL player Lawyer Milloy’s jersey was retired at halftime, and coach Jon Kitna was celebrating his 40th birthday.
But visiting North Thurston decided to crash the party.
The Rams rolled up 207 yards on the ground and got a commanding performance by their defense, eventually coasting to a 36-7 victory in a Narrows 3A matchup, handing the Abes their first loss of the season and putting a damper on the festive atmosphere.
Halfback Mo Manning led the way for the Rams, rushing for 71 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 18 carries.
“The strength of our team is our rushing game right now, and our kids inside did a really nice job blocking,” North Thurston coach Rocky Patchin said. “Our running backs ran hard and I thought we were very physical tonight.”
The Rams defense also shut down Lincoln’s ground game, holding the Abes to minus-8 yards rushing for the game. Things didn’t start well for the Abes, who turned the ball over on downs at their own 47-yard line on their opening possession after a failed fake punt attempt. North Thurston took advantage, needing just four plays to score, eventually getting a 15-yard touchdown run from Manning.