The West Lincoln Rebels traveled to North Gaston to open their 2005 football season. Meeting for the first time, both the Rebels and the Wildcats were able to put up huge offensive numbers in a high scoring game.
The two teams combined for 75 points with North Gaston holding on to win 42-33 Friday night in both teamâ€™s season opener.
West Lincoln junior Ben Poole got the Rebels off to a good start with a 75-yard kickoff return. Three plays later, Paul Chambers scored on a one-yard run giving the Rebels a 6-0 lead.
The Rebel defense looked strong early, forcing North Gaston to punt on their first possession, but West Lincoln was unable to move the football on their next possession.
After a Rebel punt, North Gaston put together an eight- play drive scoring on a 13- yard run by Princeton Brooks. The extra point was good, giving the Wildcats a 7-6 lead.
With 50 seconds remaning in the first quarter senior running back Gene Arp broke away from the Wildcat defense and scored on a 62- yard run.
Rebel quarterback Taylor Woodie then found Poole in the end zone for two points giving West Lincoln the lead 14-7.
North Gaston wasted no time getting back on the scoreboard. Paris Benton scored on the kickoff return, that covered 83 yards. West Lincoln was able to block the extra point.
Midway through the second quarter North Gaston put together a 13-play drive. Tabaris Gordon scored on a 19-yard run. The two-point conversion was good.
Now trailing by a touchdown, the Rebel offense put together its best drive of the first half, going 53 yards in 11 plays. Woodie found his favorite target Poole for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
The extra point was good by Aaron Scott making the score 21-21. In the drive the offensive line did a good job blocking, giving Woodie time to complete three passes.
After a long halftime break due to the heat, both teams were able to score a touchdown in the third quarter.
North Gaston scored first on an 11-yard run by Brooks. The extra point was good making the score 28-21.
The Rebels looked like they would answer with a quick score when Poole returned the kickoff 50 yards, but four penalties by the Rebels stopped the drive.
The Rebel offense got back on track with their next possession.
The Rebels went on a four-play drive. Arp had his second long run of the night, running 69 yards giving the Rebels first and goal from the Wildcat nine-yard line. Chambers scored on the next play. The extra point was no good.
In the fourth quarter, North Gaston took control of the game. The Wildcats scored two touchdowns.
Quarterback A.J. Blue threw a touchdown pass to DMonte Callaway, and running back Brooks scored his third TD of the night on a five-yard run.
Although tired, West Lincoln scored on a nine-play drive when Woodie found Poole again for a Rebel TD. The play covered 22 yards. The Rebels had one more drive but did not score, making the final 42-33.
First-year coach Randall Gusler and staff have the Rebels running the Wing-T offense which put up 343 total yards. Gene Arp rushed for 155 yards, while Paul Chambers rushed for 37 yards and two touchdowns. Poole had five catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
â€œI was super-pleased with the way the kids performed. They played extremely well,â€ Gusler said. â€œI thought it was a very-well played first game,â€ he added.
Gusler, who was pleased with the strides the offensive line continues to make, felt his core group really stepped up.
â€œI thought Gene and Ben showed very big play potential, along with Woodie. Paul Chambers and Chase Harbinson played very consistent.â€
West Lincoln (0-1) will host Maiden (1-0) next Friday, while North Gaston (1-0) will be at home against Bessemer City (0-1).
Gusler knows the game against the tradition-rich Blue Devils will be extra emotional.
â€œAnytime you play Maidenâ€”itâ€™s not your average game. I think our kids have to go into this ballgame building from last week making strides and improvements.â€
by Rick Mitchem and Jonathan Scronce