Capitols fall short

07/12/02 Capitols Press Release

Running back Rayshawn Askew ran for a season-high 126 yards on 20 carries, but the Lincoln Capitols saw their season come to crashing halt as they fell to the Billings Outlaws in the first round of the NIFL playoffs, 54-51, at Lincoln's Pershing Center.

Two missed field goals in the second half by Chace Long, included a 41-yarder that would have tied the game with three seconds remaining, proved to be the difference as Billings advances to the Pacific Conference Championship against the winner of Monday night's Omaha at Bismarck match up.

The Capitols took the opening kickoff and scored three plays into the game when Josh Luedtke found Tyrone Tyler on a 7-yard scoring toss.  Bismarck answered with a 45-yard strike, as quarterback Albert Higgs found Cory Grow for the touchdown.  Lincoln would drive to the ½ yard line on the next possession but was stopped on fourth and inches.  The Outlaws capitalized, going 47 yards in three plays capped by Higgs' second touchdown pass of the night, this time to Brian Meier.

Lincoln cut the lead to 14-10 when Long hit a 23-yard field goal and following a missed field goal by Brandon Schillinger, the Capitols retook the lead on Askew's 23rd rushing touchdown of the season with 12:49 to play in the second period.

The teams traded touchdowns the remainder of the half, with Billings getting the final score before the gun as Higgs again found Meier on a three-yard toss with 33 seconds remaining in the first half and giving the Outlaws a 35-31 advantage.

Billings opened the second half scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Schillinger, who had one blocked just before halftime.  Lincoln countered with Askew gathering in a tipped pass in the end zone with 4:27 to play in the period.  The Capitols would then take the lead, registering a safety on a blocked field goal attempt.

Lincoln, though, was limited to just a field goal on the ensuing possession, as long hit from 45 yards out to build the lead to 43-38. Billings scored one play later as Higgs again found Grow on a 45-yard toss, and the Outlaws would not trail again.

The Capitols managed to even the score at 51 apiece with 2:30 to play as Askew ran three yards for his second rushing TD of the night, as Luedtke found receiver Ryan Hinske on the two-point try.  Billings ran the clock down to ten seconds remaining on the next possession, and Schillinger hit a 15-yarder for the difference.

The loss marked the first time all season Lincoln had given up 400 yards of offense as the Outlaws racked up 425, 404 through the air as Higgs went 26-of-39 with no turnovers.  Luedtke finished 13-of-23 for 129 yards, four TDs and one interception in his final game.  The three-year indoor/arena veteran is calling it quits as he becomes the head basketball coach at Omaha's Creighton Prep.

Grow led all receivers with 10 catches for 210 yards, while the Capitols were led by Hinske's four grabs for 58 yards.

With the win, Billings takes an 11-4 mark into the Pacific Conference Championship next weekend, while Lincoln ends the season with a 10-5 record.


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