The Lincolnton Wolves open the football season against one of their most fierce rivals the Maiden Blue Devils.
The Wolves routed Maiden in 2003, so Maiden will be hungry to not let history repeat itself as they make the trek to Lincolntonâ€™s Memorial Stadium Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wolvesâ€™ head coach Scott Cloninger believes the main key will be containing stud sophomore running back Tommy Henry who rushed for 150 yards a game in 2003 with 18 touchdowns.
â€œYouâ€™re going to try to slow down Tommy Henry. I donâ€™t think you can stop him. Heâ€™s their go-to man and heâ€™s the one thatâ€™s going to make them go. Coach Brown does a great job with him and heâ€™ll probably get it 25 to 30 times a game so heâ€™s going to get his yardage. But what you need to do is make him work for every yard he gets,â€ he said.
Cloninger also is convinced that Brandon Finger does a good job directing the Blue Devilsâ€™ offense from the quarterback position.
â€œFinger is solid. Heâ€™s a good runner and throws the ball well. It looks like he does good job running their offense.â€
According to Cloninger the best player on the Blue Devilsâ€™ talented defense is linebacker Andrew Goodson.
â€œHeâ€™s as hard of hitting linebacker as Iâ€™ve seen in awhile. Theyâ€™re big upfront offensively and defensively. They have a lot of good skill people on defense,â€ he said.
Part of what makes the Maiden defense so formidable is their movement prior to the snap.
â€œTheyâ€™re very solid and their moving around makes it very difficult for you. I really havenâ€™t seen a weakness on them yet. They are very sound defensively,â€ Cloninger said.
â€œThey have good people in the secondary that can run,â€ he added.
The coach believes that one area will be pivotal in Fridayâ€™s matchup.
â€œWe need to have some success early and donâ€™t make many mistakes because we are so young. I have always said the more confidence you gain early, the more success you will have,â€ Cloninger said.
One thing is definite their will be throngs of the Blue Devilsâ€™ faithful hoping their team can upset the Wolves in the season opener. Despite that being the case, Cloninger is excited the game will be at his place.
â€œIâ€™m just glad Iâ€™m not going to Maiden. We do have a homefield advantage. When youâ€™re at home youâ€™re trying to protect your house. You donâ€™t let somebody come into your house and push you around.â€
by John Mark Brooks