SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Lincoln Patriots have been ranked as the number one team in 11AAA all season long, and with a 7-0 mark, the Pats have started to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.
Lincoln is outscoring its opponents by nearly 40 points a game this season. The Patriots are averaging 50.4 points per contest and have outscored their opponents by more than 200 points in the first half of games alone.
“I knew our offense was going to be pretty good,” Lincoln head coach Jared Fredenburg said. “But the points that we’re putting up against really quality teams, I don’t know what to say.”
The Pats have a plethora of weapons for senior quarterback Tate Schafer, who has completed 71 percent of his passes for 25 TDs and zero interceptions. But his favorite target is SDSU commit Jack Smith, who has reeled in 16 scores, including 5 last Friday at Brandon Valley.
“Last Friday night, a couple of catches that Jack made, I just turned around and went wow,” Fredenburg said. “It’s just it’s pretty special. I’m just trying to enjoy it.”
The Patriots are looking to break through this year after falling in the state semifinals to the eventual champion in each of the last three seasons.
“I think it’s time for us to be on the top,” Lincoln senior wide receiver Jack Smith said. “But I mean, we can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to still get a couple of things done. We’ve got to tighten up some screws. But overall, I think we have a really good shot.”
With the postseason beginning before the end of the month, the state’s No. 1 team is not trying to look too far down the road.
“We’ve got to make sure we stay down to earth and just keep what we have rolling and keep the momentum going,” Lincoln senior quarterback Tate Schafer said. “Not take any steps backward and keep taking steps forward.”
“We have to play with a target on our chest,” Fredenburg said. “And so, we feel that we’ve been No. 1 the majority of the season. Every week we talk about how we play to our standard, not necessarily who we play. We worry about how we play.”
Lincoln has two more games in the regular season. The Patriots will take on Washington Friday night at Howard Wood Field.