Homecoming is always special for high school football. Celebrating your 100 years as a high school makes it that much more special. When the Lincolnton Wolves meet the Chase Trojans this Friday, that will be the case.
Lincolnton is coming off a tremendous game against the West Lincoln Rebels. The Wolves gained 309 rushing yards in addition to 119 yards in the air. Head coach Scott Cloninger is looking for the same formula against Chase.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to be able to mix the run-pass. We have to continue to run the ball and throw the ball because if youâ€™re just a running team people are going to crowd the line of scrimmage on you. If youâ€™re a passing team theyâ€™re just going to sit back on you, so we need to be able to mix the run and the pass,â€ he said.
Although Chase is surrenders 29 points a game on average, , Cloninger believes that statistic could be misleading.
â€œTheyâ€™ve played Forestview and RS Central, so theyâ€™ve played some good competition.â€
Zack Gibson, who suffered a knee injury in the 21-18 victory over West, will be evaluated Thursday. His status for the game is uncertain.
The Wolves will turn to backup quarterback Derek Butler. Cloninger believes he is more than capable of handling the responsibility.
â€œDerek is a fine young man and I think heâ€™ll be ready for the challenge. Heâ€™s more of a running quarterback.â€
Brothers Lance and Dusty Friday are coming off a game that saw Lance rush for over 70 yards in the first half and saw Dusty rush for 123 yards on 16 carries. Cloninger feels the Trojans will see plenty of the duo along with Darrell Friday.
â€œI think youâ€™ll see the Friday boys touch the ball a lot come Friday.â€
Chase, who runs the unorthodox wing-T look on offense, runs a lot of option football.
â€œItâ€™s a lot of misdirection, so you have to follow your keys on defense and play disciplined football,â€ Cloninger said.
Trojansâ€™ wide receiver Oâ€™Neal Chestnut, 6â€™2â€ 175, high jumps 6â€™10â€ and has sprinter-type speed. Cloninger believes he has the type of skill to be a difference-maker.
â€œHeâ€™s one of those guys theyâ€™ll throw it up to and heâ€™s got the ability to go up over anybody and get it,â€ he said.
Another weapon Chase has comes in a tiny package. How tiny? How about 5 feet, 4 inches, and 155 pounds â€” Anthony Wingo. Wingo has proved over the past couple of years to be a legitimate threat in the Trojansâ€™ backfield.
â€œHeâ€™s got very quick feet. You have to slow him down and donâ€™t let Chestnut hit you with big plays,â€ Cloninger said aware of both of their abilities.
Cloninger believes clearly the biggest key for his team will be how they respond after their Midwest 2A Conference opener against the Rebels.
â€œIt will be how we come to play after a big win against West Lincoln. This game is just as big as last game in my opinion. You have to win each one of them as they come in and take care of business,â€ he said.
Senior alumni Ruby Sigmon and Harvey Jonas, will be Lincolntonâ€™s grand marshalls for the 100 year celebration.
The cheerleading team will be donning new garb as they will appear in vintage costumes.
Cloninger is excited about homecoming, but also is wary of what the occasion can do to players.
â€œItâ€™s homecoming, so thereâ€™s always a couple of distractions on homecoming night. I think it will be a very entertaining night.â€
The Wolves are now 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in the MW 2A. Chase enters Fridayâ€™s game at 1-4 and 0-1. by John Mark Brooks