SAN DIEGO — Morse High School's football team knows Lincoln is small.
So does everyone.
The Hornets have just 19 on their roster. And not many big players, even in the line, except 6-foot 4-inch, 250-pound junior tackle Lawrence Misa.
But Morse Coach John Shacklett also knows it is no small feat to defeat No. 4-ranked Lincoln, which is only 1-2 because it had to forfeit victories over Centennial (56-8) and Patrick Henry (41-10) because it used an ineligible player.
But everyone, at least everyone in the Southeast and Skyline neighborhoods, also knows Lincoln will not be taking Friday night's final preseason game lightly.
That's because they will be playing Morse for neighborhood bragging rights. The game will be played at Mesa, which is out of the neighborhood, but that will not dampen the enthusiasm according to Shacklett, who expects a crowd of about 5,000.
Shacklett is preparing his team for the high-scoring Hornets. Malcolm Glover, the Hornets' versatile quarterback, has passed for 716 yards in three games, and is second in the county with 12 touchdown passes.
"Glover delivers the ball right there (to the receivers)," Shacklett said. "He has a good arm and throws the ball real well. I'm really impressed by him."
Patrick Rowe and Patrick Newman are Glover's favorite targets. Rowe has caught six touchdown passes, and scored twice more on two-point conversions.
Lincoln can move the ball on the ground, too. Running back Keith Mitchell has 15 carries for 242 yards. Marcus Hopkins and Kevin Keys are equally dangerous in Lincoln's wishbone attack.
"They get the ball up the field," Shacklett said. "They're a quick, little club."
"I didn't expect them to be this good," Roy Reed, the Lincoln line coach said. "They've done an exceptional job and they've held up well."
Lincoln also seems to have held up pretty well under the adversity of the forfeits.
"That won't bother the kids," said Skip Coons, the Lincoln coach. "You can't beat a team 56-8 and 41-10 and tell the kids they lost."
Meanwhile, Morse (2-2), which also uses the wishbone, hopes its offense holds up without starting quarterback Derrick Jackson. He injured knee ligaments against Vista two weeks ago, and may miss the rest of the season. Melvin Maxwell, an inexperienced sophomore, will replace Jackson.
How does Shacklett feel about going with a young QB in a game like this?
"I'd rather not," he said. "He's a good smart kid and a good athlete, but I don't have much choice."
According to Coons, the absence of Morse's top quarterback won't affect the Tigers too much.
"We've watched their films and they have a good, solid team," Coons said. "They'll play us like they've never played anyone before."
Teams: Morse vs. Lincoln
Where: Mesa College
When: Tonight at 7:00
Records: Morse 2-2, Lincoln 1-2
Rankings: Morse unranked, Lincoln fourth
Last year: Lincoln 21, Morse 2
Last week: Morse idle, Lincoln 41, Kearny 12
Players to watch: Lincoln-- Malcolm Glover (5-10, 165, SR., QB), Keith Mitchell (5-10, 165, JR., RB/DB), Patrick Rowe (6-1, 165, JR., WR). Morse: Wesley Fuller (5-10, JR., RB), Charley Fishero (6-5, 275, JR, DT), Bernard Wells (5-11, 175, SR., FB).