CLAREMONTâ€” The Lincolnton Wolves remained undefeated in Midwest 2A conference play with an improbable 32-29 come from behind win Friday night at Bunker Hill High School.
Senior tailback Dusty Friday scored on a five-yard run with 44 seconds remaining to keep the Wolves tied atop the conference standings at 3-0.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead, thanks to poor special teamsâ€™ play from Lincolnton. Given great field position following a low snap on the Wolves first punt attempt, Bunker Hill opened the scoring with a two-yard run from senior running back J..P. Killian. After Chou Yang`s extra point, the Bears led 7-0.
On Lincolnton`s next possession, the Wolves were forced to kick again. This time the punt went for negative yardage, setting up another Killian score. The big bruising runner would take it in from four yards out and the Bears had a quick 14-0 lead.
The next drive seemed critical for Lincolnton if they were to stay in the contest. The Wolves answered.
Quarterback Zack Gibson, returning to the starting lineup after missing last week`s game with a knee injury, found senior Dustin Metts in the end zone with a 17-yard scoring strike. George Ramirez connected on the point after, and the Bears lead was trimmed in half.
The Wolves (5-2, 3-0) scored again on their next possession. Gibson again found Metts for a touchdown, this time from nine yards out. The extra point attempt missed, and Lincolnton trailed 14-13.
The Wolves defense came up big on the Bears next drive. Linebacker Lance Friday scooped up a Bunker Hill fumble and raced 47 yards to the end zone to give Lincolnton its first lead of the game. The two point conversion failed, but the Wolves moved ahead 19-14.
Bunker Hill quarterback Martin Turbeville`s 34-yard touchdown run late in the first half gave the Bears back the lead. Turbeville then hit Matt Killian for the two point conversion, and Bunker Hill went in at the break with a 22-19 advantage.
Lincolnton regained the lead midway through the third period. Gibson connected again with Metts, this time on another nine-yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion attempt failed again, and the Wolvesâ€™ lead stood at 25-22. Gibson`s 44-yard completion to Shane Faw helped set up the score.
With under three minutes remaining in the game, the Bears went ahead on Turbeville`s one-yard touchdown run. Yang added the point after for a 29-25 Bunker Hill lead. Turbeville`s 72 yard run set up the go ahead score.
Dusty Friday gave the Wolves decent field position, returning the ensuing kickoff to the thirty-four yard line. Gibson then hit receiver Derek Butler down the sideline for a 35 yard pickup to the Bear`s thirty-one.
Following a pass interference call against Bunker Hill, the Wolves were faced with a fourth and twelve from the Bunker Hill eighteen yard line.
Gibson rolled to his left, then scrambled back across the field to his right and lofted a pass toward the sideline. Senior Kyle Snyder made the catch at the fiveyard line to give the Wolves a first and goal, setting up Dusty Friday`s winning touchdown run with 44 seconds to play.
The Bearsâ€™ (4-3, 1-2) final attempt ended on a desperation pass from Turbeville to the Lincolnton goal line. Defensive back Darrell Friday knocked the pass down to the ground to preserve the victory for the Wolves.
Gibson had a big night in his return to the starting lineup. The junior quarterback connected on 12-of-23 pass attempts for 204 yards and three touchdowns. All three of Gibson`s scoring passes were to Metts.
Lincolnton coach Scott Cloninger said, “Zack had an outstanding game. We knew Bunker Hill was going to pressure him, and he handled it well.”
The Wolves rushing attack was led by Darrell Friday. Friday finished with 84 yards on eleven carries. The Bears picked up 251 yards rushing, led by Turbeville`s 135 yards on fourteen carries. Bunker Hill`s leading rusher, J.P. Killian, was held to 55 yards on fifteen carries. Dusty Friday had six receptions for 77 yards for the Wolves.
When asked about his teamâ€™s overall performance, Cloninger said “I was very proud of our team. We showed a lot of heart and character.”
The coach also praised his offensive line.
“I thought we pass blocked as well as we have all year. Wes Winburn and Devan Jefferies have become solid leaders on the offensive line,” Cloninger noted.
Cloninger had good things to say about the second half effort of his defense.
“Lance Friday and Derek Butler have become defensive standouts and Darrell Friday gives his all on every play,” he said
The Wolves will be at home this Friday to take on Newton-Conover.
by David Keever