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Capitols lose heartbreaker at Tri-City

June 9, 2002 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Lincoln Capitols News Release

Newly-signed wide reciever Ryan Hienske made three touchdown catches and running back Rayshawn Askew ran for another on a 16 carry, 56 yard night, but it wasn't enough for the Lincoln Capitols, who fell to the Tri-City Diesel Saturday night 44-41.

After being held scoreless the entire third quarter and over half of the fourth, the Diesel scored a pair of touchdowns on recovered fumbles in the end zone. WR Andre Hatcher lost the ball at the goal line, but offensive lineman Juan Zarate fell on top of it with 3:50 remaining to pull Tri-City to within five at 41-36. After the Capitols failed to come away with points, the Diesel drove to the goal line where running back Sherman Jones coughed the football up, only to have it recovered by o-lineman Brett Welton with 22 seconds remaing. The Diesel converted on the two-point try, forcing the Capitols to get a field goal to tie.

Kicker Chase Long's 30-yard attempt in front of the final buzzer glanced off one of the heating ducts above the floor of the arena, and the Capitols hopes of forcing overtime were dashed. Long had the distance and accuracy on the kick, but left it too high, giving Tri-City its third win over a playoff hopeful team in their last three home games.

Hienske, signed this week to replace the injured Zach Sangster, led the Capitols with six receptions for 67 yards and three scores. Quarterback Josh Luedkte completed 15-of-26 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns.

Askew ran hard all evening, often spinning off tackles for the extra few yards the Capitols needed, and added four catches for 26 yards.

The Capitols were forced to shift their defensive lineup because of late scratch of free safety Heath Staples. The three-year indoor veteran found out Friday night that he would miss the remainder of the season with a cracked T-6 vertebrae and a bulging disc in his back.

Tri-City responded by racking up its best offensive output in four games, rolling up 283 yards of offense. Quarterback Justin Coleman threw for four scores on 17-of-33 passing for 189 yards, and running backs Andre Hatcher and Sherman Jones combined for 97 yards rushing for the 5-6 Diesel.

Wide reciever Mitch Ables was a thorn in the Capitols' side all night, catching a pair of touchdowns and finishing with 10 catches for 107 yards. Every time Tri-City needed a big play, Coleman tended to find Ables and the Diesel recovered from their lack of scoring after halftime.

Lincoln, now 8-4, closes out the regular season with three home games over four weeks, starting with a Friday night showdown with the Bismarck Roughriders. The Capitols lost earlier in the year at Bismarck, and the two teams are battling for one of four playoff berths in the Pacific Conference of the NIFL.

Tickets for Friday night's 7:35 game are available at all Ticketmaster locations, including all six Russ's Markets locations, the Pershing Center box office or by calling 475-1212. Russ's Market Privilege Plus Card holders can take advantage of a $2 discount on tickets at any Ticketmaster location, and tickets for children under 12 are half-price with the purchase of an adult ticket.

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