That’s the mantra floating around the Lincoln football program as it has tried to erase the disappointment from a 34-30 Turkey Bowl loss to Galileo on Thanksgiving.
The Mustangs lost the 2013 Academic Athletic Association Back of the Year in Da’vion Telfor (1,637 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns) to City College of San Francisco, his backfield mate as well as AAA co-Defensive Player of the Year, Tyree Marzetta (1,558 rushing yards, 18 TDs), and not to mention, the Offensive Lineman of the Year in Justin Lee.
But Lincoln — which appeared in seven of the last nine San Francisco Section championship games (going 5-2) — has moved onward, and coach Phil Ferrigno, who knows players like Telfor, Marzetta and Lee are irreplaceable, believes this version of the Mustangs will blossom into something good.
Besides, this is a program that once had to replace The City’s all-time leading rusher in David Henderson, and won the Turkey Bowl the next season without him.
“Last year’s over and I’m not too happy about the ending, but we were in the game,” said Ferrigno, who is entering his 13th season at Lincoln. “That’s the goal: To get to the [Turkey Bowl] game, and if guys continue to believe in the process, we’ll have a chance to get back there. That’s something I’m excited about.”
Although Lincoln will break in a slew of underclassmen, one player who is not new to the program is senior Ifeanyi Ebochie. The 6-foot-2, 174-pound safety — who is getting a look from Sacramento State, among others — was part of the Mustangs’ 2012 championship team, and was a first-team All-AAA safety last season.
Senior Ryan Tom is the front-runner to start at quarterback, and if he does, he’ll be protected by a pair of burly sophomores — 6-foot-3, 278-pound Tim Potosi, and 5-11, 325-pound Ronald Phelps, who also plays nose tackle.
New faces, new year, and the same goals.
“It’s like New Year’s Day,” Ebochie said. “We have the same goals we had last year, and to accomplish those we know we have to be a team, and not a one-man team. As long as we’re in sync, we’ll have a good season.”
Still, with a slew of fresh faces, Ferrigno believes his team can be just as a good, if not better than a year ago. The Mustangs will be tested early on with three nonconference road games that will be followed up with the annual Bell Game against Washington to open AAA play.
“We try and work forward and I feel blessed with where the program is at and where we’re going. I can’t really ask for much more,” Ferrigno said. “We’re a little young so we have to make sure we’re team-oriented, and get all the individual stuff out of our system, but I believe we can end up with a good [team].”
Last season: 7-5 overall, 6-1 in the Academic Athletic Association (second place; lost to Galileo 34-30 in Turkey Bowl)
Three things to watch:
-- Will senior running back Chris Peacock — who didn’t play football last season — be able to replace a bulk of the production of Da’vion Telfor and Tyree Marzetta, who combined for 3,195 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns?
-- Junior Jacquez Williams is a player Lincoln coaches are expecting to provide explosiveness from the wide receiver position.
-- Oct. 11 against Mission, which will be a playoff rematch of their overtime thriller last season, and could be a Turkey Bowl preview.
Sept. 6 at Irvington *TBA
Sept. 12 at Hillsdale *7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at El Camino 2 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Washington 2 p.m.
Oct. 11 vs. Mission 2 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Balboa 2 p.m.
Oct. 25 vs. Burton 2 p.m.
Nov. 1 vs. Marshall 2 p.m.
Nov. 8 vs. Galileo 2 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Lowell 2 p.m.