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San Francisco High School Football: Lincoln Defeats Washington for the 10th Consecutive Bell Game

There may not be a more picturesque vantage point for high school football in the United States.

The Washington High School Stadium, which overlooks the famed Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, is stunning from almost every perspective.

On Friday, in the 77th Big Bell Game, the Eagles hoped to stop a nine-year losing streak against their archrival Lincoln. With a surprise 7-1 record overall and a 4-0 record in Academic Athletic Association play, Washington’s aspirations did not look to be ephemeral.

Lincoln’s coach, Phil Ferrigno, was forced to recover his breath after a 49-0 Mustangs thrashing. Even he did not anticipate such a decisive, overwhelming victory. 
The Mustangs moved to 6-3 and almost claimed another regular-season AAA championship with a 5-0 record.

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The San Francisco Standard adds that Lincoln’s defence caused six turnovers and converted them into 30 points, including interception touchdowns by Jamelle Newman and Jaylen Lopez, who also recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

Newman scored two touchdowns on offence, the first of which was a 52-yard touchdown run.

Since 2005, Ferrigno has guided the Mustangs to eight section and two state championships. “I have to say, I didn’t see this coming,” he added.

“Our defence and effort surprised me tremendously.” Our line performed well. I am really proud of those gentlemen. We performed competently. In a game of this magnitude, it is impossible to predict how children will do. We were much more concentrated than I had anticipated.”

Washington’s lack of a winning season since 2011 was the leading narrative heading into the matchup. The Eagles, a great programme over the preceding two decades, have fallen on hard times, winning just 16 games against 73 defeats between 2012 and 2021.

But by Friday, fourth-year head coach Mike Ramos, who was the starting centre on the 1999 Washington squad from the San Francisco Section, had totally turned the Eagles around.

The Eagles entered the game having outscored their opponents 314-85 with three shutouts, including a 22-0 thrashing of the reigning state 7-A champions, Balboa, the week before.

Washington began its season with a 49-14 rout of Ygnacio Valley-Concord and continued with landslide victories over Cenair (41-0), Galileo (44-7) and Burton (64-0). 23-22 to Irvington-Fremont was the team’s lone prior loss, 23-22.

On Wednesday, Ramos said, “It’s truly all about the players.” They bought into what we were attempting to do. They’ve complied with all of our requests.

However, without starter quarterback James Mertz (knee injury), the Eagles quickly fell apart. After Newman’s touchdown, Latu Manumua scored on an unhandled punt kick to make the score 14-0.

Ricky Underwood, Lincoln’s star player, made his first appearance since injuring his collarbone in the team’s season opener and provided a significant boost. Underwood made several big runs and played some defense.

“It was excellent for us that he got a little run,” Ferrigno added.

Vincent Huang’s pressure caused a fumble in the end zone, which was recovered by Lopez to make the score 21-0. The score was 35-0 at halftime following a Newman pick-six.

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Following Lopez’s second defensive touchdown, Renay Taylor scored the final score with a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“This was an excellent one,” remarked Ferrigno. We’ll accept it. Still a great distance to go. “

Lincoln increased its series lead to 41-35-1. Next week, Burton will host the Mustangs, while Washington will host Mission. The Eagles have already secured a postseason home game.

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