The West Lincoln Rebels have shown improvement from last season, although their 0-4 record may not back up that claim.
Once again, the Rebels had their fair share of opportunities against undefeated West Iredell Friday, but untimely turnovers and penalties derailed any hope of winning.
â€œWe played a good, solid ball game last week. We just had a crucial turnover and some penalties that really hurt us last week,â€ head coach Randall Gusler said.
It gets no easier for West Lincoln this week as 4A South Caldwell (4-0) comes calling.
Paul Chambers topped the century mark with 18 carries for 110 yards and Gene Arp (14 carries for 91 yards) helped the Rebels rack up 271 rushing yards against the Warriors, aided by Chase Harbinsonâ€™s consistent blocking.
â€œTheyâ€™ve (Paul and Gene) been doing a wonderful job this year. Theyâ€™re following their blockers and theyâ€™re blocking for each other,â€ Gusler said.
This week, Gusler is hoping to see them get to the edge.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to get to the outside. We also want to look for some quick stuff this week and try to incorporate some short passes,â€ he said.
Against a bigger team, Gusler also wants to see his offensive line continue to step up to the challenge.
â€œI think we need to try to keep our offense on the field and try to establish our blocking up front,â€ he said.
Junior wide receiver Ben Poole caught a 61-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Woodie.
With Southern Piedmont action getting underway next week, Gusler is hoping to establish their base running game this week and make sure everything is fine-tuned.
The Spartans also run a Wing-T offense, so fans that come out to West Lincoln Friday may feel like theyâ€™re seeing double.
â€œItâ€™s kind of looking in the mirror this week. Their big plays are our big plays,â€ Gusler said.
Poole not only stood out on offense, but he also performed extremely well at his starting corner position limiting Virginia-commitment Chris Dalton to three catches for 33 yards.
No. 44 linebacker/fullback Brad Hardee at 6â€™1â€ 220 pounds and No. 90 tight end/defensive end Louis Swaba (6â€™5â€ 250) are the Spartans two impact players.
And where does Gusler feel the battle will be decided this week? According to him, in the trenches.
â€œWho wins the battle up front will more than likely determine the outcome of the ball game.â€
by John Mark Brooks