Joe Manning and the Lincoln Trojans: back & hungry

The loss a couple of weeks ago put a damper on what was to be the season to remember. It also thrust the Trojans straight out of the USA Today Top 25. That hasn't thwarted Lincoln though from making a strong comeback, a state-title still squarely in their sights and even, more than likely. To that end, the players have came back fighting, but you really could expect nothing less from what is still one of the best prep teams in the country.

In Lincoln's sole loss, DB, Joe Manning still had a pretty solid day, nabbing two interceptions, helping the defense to stop the bleeding from a 3 turnover episode, all three turnovers directly resulting in touchdowns. That's rare. No, that's actually almost impossible, but that's how it goes sometimes, but it's frustrating nonetheless. "We were just standing there." Manning said of the defense. "By the time we hit the field, we were down three scores."

Lincoln held fast for the rest of the game, but it wasn't enough, the Trojans suffering what is their only loss on the season.

Since then, it's been business as usual for one of the elite in the always-elite class of Florida-Prep schools. "We've bounced back, because that's what we've been focused to do." Joe said. "We wanted to be the only Lincoln team to go 15-0, but since we can't do that, we want to win the rest of our games and go out with another state title.

In the last two weeks, Lincoln high has dispatched Rickards, 45-6 and Chiles, 47-14. During those two games, Joe accumulated double-digits in tackles and a couple of pass break-ups.

Joe Manning and teammates, Rodney Gallon and John Hogan have been a big reason for the Trojan's stingy efforts on defense, Lincoln allowing just 12 points per contest, two of those being shutouts. Both Gallon and Hogan have topped the 20 tackle mark this season.

Recruiting goes as it has for the main Lincoln quartet that's being courted from one coast to the other. Calvin Darity, Danny Muy, Rodney Gallon and of course, Joe all have put recruiting in the back of their mind, but not so far back that they don't think about it when Lincoln football isn't taking precedence. "The great thing is that everyone of us is focused on the season." Joe said. "We all are just looking to what this team can do the rest of the way and we think about recruiting, but we won't let it get in the way of making our last year here one of our best."

As for visits, Joe could recall that only Danny Muy is the one of the four to have made a visit already, that being to Alabama. As for a visit that each of the four knows about, it's to Nebraska following their probable state-title game the first week of December. "We all want to go up as a family." Joe said of himself, Danny, Calvin and Rodney going together. "That way we can see it all and we can all talk about what we liked and so on."

As for Joe, Nebraska is still the team he's considering above the rest. "I'm still favoring Nebraska right now." he said. "There's nothing not to like about Nebraska and I have had a great relationship with them so far."

Danny Muy is the other amongst the four that is considered to be seriously considering Nebraska at this time, his choices apparently narrowed down to the Huskers and the Crimson Tide of Alabama. As for Joe, Nebraska leads, but Florida is in there as well as Clemson, Michigan State and Louisville.

Lincoln has already clinched the division title with the victory over Chiles and has one more game left to finish the regular season.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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