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Knights ready for special night

Friday night’s game against the Highland Tech Rams will be North Lincoln’s inaugural Homecoming football game. The Knights’ remaining schedule is favorable as only one of the final four has a winning record (Polk Co. 7-0).

Offense
The Rams run a 5-3 defensive set which could play into the hands of North Lincoln who favors passing the football.
Knights’ head coach Lonnie Custer, while happy with their passing attack, is looking for consistency in the offensive backfield.
“We have to put some points on the board early. We have to get some big plays out of your running backs, that’s something we’ve been lacking the last few weeks,” 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.
“We’ve haven’t started the same offensive line the last four weeks due to injury, but they’ve done a real good job pass protecting. We just have to do a better job in the ground game,” 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 couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The open week was well-timed for us because he’s 100 percent. On the offensive line, we’re going to get Brandon Ledford and Bradley Smith. Bradley has been out for two weeks,” he said.

Defense
The Rams will show a variety of looks on offense demonstrating multiple sets but they favor the I-Formation.
North Lincoln’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.
“We just have to stop the run, it’s the same thing every week. We have to do a better job preparing these kids to stop the opponent’s offense,” he said.
The coach believes that football is a simple sport but it’s execution that sets teams apart.
“At some point, people have to start making plays. It’s come down to blocking and tackling and we’ve got to do a better job of finishing plays defensively.”
Despite Highland’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.
“They 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 I’m telling you it’s going to be good game.”

X-Factor
Since it is the first homecoming at North, Custer does not want his team to get caught up in the hype.
”It’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 can’t be distracted by homecoming,” he said.

by John Mark Brooks

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