Friday nightâ€™s game against the Highland Tech Rams will be North Lincolnâ€™s inaugural Homecoming football game. The Knightsâ€™ remaining schedule is favorable as only one of the final four has a winning record (Polk Co. 7-0).
The Rams run a 5-3 defensive set which could play into the hands of North Lincoln who favors passing the football.
Knightsâ€™ head coach Lonnie Custer, while happy with their passing attack, is looking for consistency in the offensive backfield.
â€œWe have to put some points on the board early. We have to get some big plays out of your running backs, thatâ€™s something weâ€™ve been lacking the last few weeks,â€ he said.
Custer and coach Peeler, the line coach were pleased with the job the Knights did against the Bessemer City Yellow Jackets in their last game.
â€œWeâ€™ve havenâ€™t started the same offensive line the last four weeks due to injury, but theyâ€™ve done a real good job pass protecting. We just have to do a better job in the ground game,â€ Custer said.
North Lincoln will receive a boost in the ground attack as Brandon Mull is healthy again coming off a turf-toe injury. Custer believes the open week couldnâ€™t have come at a better time.
â€œThe open week was well-timed for us because heâ€™s 100 percent. On the offensive line, weâ€™re going to get Brandon Ledford and Bradley Smith. Bradley has been out for two weeks,â€ he said.
The Rams will show a variety of looks on offense demonstrating multiple sets but they favor the I-Formation.
North Lincolnâ€™s run defense has been horrific allowing over 300 yards a game on the season. Custer feels that could be the difference maker against the Rams.
â€œWe just have to stop the run, itâ€™s the same thing every week. We have to do a better job preparing these kids to stop the opponentâ€™s offense,â€ he said.
The coach believes that football is a simple sport but itâ€™s execution that sets teams apart.
â€œAt some point, people have to start making plays. Itâ€™s come down to blocking and tackling and weâ€™ve got to do a better job of finishing plays defensively.â€
Despite Highlandâ€™s reputation, Custer says that the Rams do have some talent and that the head coach, Jerry Jordan, has done a solid job making them competitive.
â€œThey have quick running backs and a quarterback who can run it or throw it. They are vastly improved from last year. We were fairly even last year and Iâ€™m telling you itâ€™s going to be good game.â€
Since it is the first homecoming at North, Custer does not want his team to get caught up in the hype.
â€Itâ€™s a new experience and we have to focus on our job which is to win the football game. Everything else will take care of itself. We canâ€™t be distracted by homecoming,â€ he said.
by John Mark Brooks