The North Lincoln Knights will hit I-40 West Friday on their way to take on the Christ School Greenies in search of win No. 3 on the season.
In the first three weeks of the season, the Knights have tried to establish the running game with Brandon Mull, Jarrett Robbins and Aaron Licourt.
This week, head coach Matt Beam is focusing more of his energy into the passing attack, led by junior Trent Hopkins.
â€œWe need to pass the football. I believe we need to work on it and for the third week in a row we have to catch the ball,â€ Beam said.
â€œTrent is putting it on the money and our receivers need to make the catch,â€ Beam said, referring to amount of dropped passes the Knights have had thus far this season.
Last week in a 14-12 victory over Lake Norman, North Lincoln struggled moving the football at times due to the lack of size on the offensive line.
Beam plans to run more plays designed to get Mull and Licourt the football in space in an effort to let them make plays.
The Knightsâ€™ defense allowed no points after halftime against Lake Norman and only gave up 245 yards. Beam is hoping for more of the same against the Greenies.
â€œWe got to continue to be in the right position. We have some people that are hurt up a little bit, so some back-ups are going to have to come through,â€ he said.
Starting cornerback Josh Wilkins is doubtful and Isiah Matthews is probable after experiencing severe headaches this week.
While the secondary will probably be without the services of Wilkins, the rest of the group has also proved they can make plays.
â€œTheyâ€™re making plays. All five of them have interceptionsâ€”thatâ€™s big. Weâ€™re going to need that to continue from them,â€ Beam said.
The Greenies will throw the ball a lot and often from a spread formation. They will also occasionally mix in an I-Form look.
In giving up few passing yards, the secondary is partly responsible, but Beam is quick to point out the defensive linemen have contributed too.
â€œPassing-wise, we havenâ€™t given up too many yards. We havenâ€™t played really good passing teams, but those three men up front (Bullard, Miller and Peeler) are difficult to block because theyâ€™re so quick,â€ he said.
With every game on the remaining schedule starting at 7:30, this one is an anomaly, as it begins at 4:30 p.m. Beam believes the game-time is significant because itâ€™s not what his team is used to.
â€œThis is going to bring back middle school games for some of our kids. Itâ€™s (the crowd atmosphere) going to be real quiet and reserved,â€ he said.
â€œThatâ€™s going to be the key, can they get themselves psyched up to play after a long bus ride and in that environment,â€ he asked.
by John Mark Brooks