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McKendree denies Lincoln its first four-win season since 2003

Lincoln lost to McKendree 50-32 Saturday in its season finale. (Tony Mullen/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- It really doesn't matter that Lincoln's three wins this season were against teams that went a combined 4-25.

Because for nearly half a century, Lincoln has been one of those teams.

Three wins is three wins ... but four certainly would have been nice.

After the Blue Tigers shaved a 17-point deficit to three midway through the third quarter, the McKendree Bearcats pulled away down the stretch --- thanks in part to one seriously strange football play --- to nail down a 50-32 win in the season-finale for both teams Saturday at Reed Stadium.

Four wins would have been nice, but how about six or seven wins?

This game, along with two or three others this season, could have been --- if not should have been --- won by the Blue Tigers. But learning how to block and tackle and play the game is one thing, learning how to win is the last, and toughest, step in the process.

"We definitely have to learn how to win," said second-year Lincoln coach Steve Smith, whose team was denied the program's first four-win season since 2003. "We definitely had opportunities to win other games, but that's just the growing pains we're going through.

"We need to make the plays to win those games, and not keep making the mistakes to back us up and put us in bad positions. That's what we're doing and that's not the type of team I want to have."

While Lincoln had plenty of incentive Saturday, McKendree (6-5, 4-3 Great Lakes) had its own --- a fourth straight winning season.

Depends on who you ask ...

"I don't care about nobody else's incentive," Smith said, "I'm just worried about what we need to get done."

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