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Steve Smith ushers in new era of optimism for Lincoln football

New Lincoln football coach Steven Smith will lead the Blue Tigers into Saturday's season opener at Langston. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- Two weeks ago, we welcomed a shiny new sports facility to our fair city.

$13 million worth of shiny.

Say hello to Ray Hentges Stadium at the Helias Sports Complex. The debut was fabulous --- except for the weather. And, well... the final score.

The home team will try again to get its first win in the new digs Friday night.

This week, we also welcome a new era of football for a program that's been searching for something good to happen for a long, long time. It's a new era of optimism under the direction of fjrst-year head coach Steve Smith.

Next week, we'll say hello to the new-look Dwight T. Reed Stadium, as this shiny makeover will be complete. Something old, something new.

This spit-shine cost $2.5 million, which includes a new turf field, locker rooms, offices and scoreboard.

Then, the home team will try again to have a winning season --- something it hasn't had in 45 years.

45 years. Nearly half a century.

That's like getting 50 inches of rain --- it's hard to fathom, hard to comprehend, hard to believe. Even bad programs accidentally have a good season now and then, but no such luck for this one --- at least, not since the Nixon Administration.

But with Steve Smith, the Lincoln Blue Tigers have gotten an infusion of hope, confidence and good vibes. The first-year head coach has much higher goals than a just winning season, however --- much higher.

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