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Knights want to assure playoffs

The North Lincoln Knights (3-7, 1-4 Southern Foothills 1A) are still riding high after a 42-40 double-overtime win over Cedar Ridge. It’s certain that if head coach Lonnie Custer could capture this feeling of euphoria he would.

“We have to continue the momentum (both of play and emotion) from last week. We have to stay two-dimensional and utilize the talent we have at running back and at receiver,” Custer said.
The stars in the Knights’ victory were quarterback Trent Hopkins and wide receiver Lesharion Johnson. Johnson caught eight balls for 84 yards and three touchdowns, including a clutch, one-handed spectacular game-winner on a 10-yard play.
Custer feels good about the North wide receivers among position groups.
“Lesharion has developed into another good receiver. Between Devin and Nathan, we have a quality trio at receiver,” he said.
Hopkins threw for 143 yards with four touchdowns and added another 128 yards rushing with one TD.
To aid the Knights’ effort against the Cherryville Ironmen (0-9, 0-4 SF 1A) they get Bradley Smith and Aaron Mintun back in the fold of the offensive line.
“We’re going to have some more depth in the O-line this week. We’re kind of thin on the offensive and defensive line, so it will give us the ability to rotate a lot more,” Custer said.

The Ironmen run a wide-open offense that involves multiple sets and trying to hit the homerun ball. Custer believes two games in particular will come into play against Cherryville.
“We’ve faced Charlotte Christian and Cedar Ridge who liked to throw the ball. It’s a good opportunity for defensive backs. Our conference is predominantly a run-oriented league, so it’s going to be a challenge for them,” he said.
Commanding plenty of attention, from the Knights, will be tight end Brock Alexander who also excels on defense.
“We have to know where he is on both sides of the ball. He’s a very solid two-way player,” Custer said.

Although Cherryville enters the game winless, Custer feels they are a more solid opponent.
“They’re a lot better than their record. We have to make sure we take advantage of a good opportunity. We have a chance to get a pretty good seed with a victory. Cherryville will be motivated because this is an opportunity for them to extend their season,” he said.
Does Custer believe his team has already qualified for the 1A Playoffs? He’s not so sure.
“I told our kids we don’t take anything for granted. With a victory we assure ourselves a playoff spot. We want it in our own hands and not based on records… we want to get in by a win Friday night.”by John Mark Brooks

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