The list of victims Lincolnton has knocked off reads like a whoâ€™s who of area football: South Point, Maiden and North Gaston.
But the Wolves face one of their biggest rivals and, perhaps, stiffest competition this week at Shelby.
The Golden Lions (2-1) only loss came at Freedom and are once again loaded with size, speed and play-makers on both sides of the ball.
â€œTheyâ€™re bigger than us and faster than us, so we have a big challenge ahead of us, but we got to play,â€ Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger said.
Leading the Wolves explosive offense has been senior quarterback Zack Gibson, who threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns last week.
While Gibsonâ€™s impact on the game canâ€™t be denied, his receiversâ€™ canâ€™t either.
â€œWe have a stock-pile of receivers. Each and any one of them can have a good night,â€ Cloninger said.
Shane Faw, Demery Brewer and T.J. Thompson each caught three or more passes versus North Gaston, led by Fawâ€™s 84 yards.
â€œDifferent people are stepping up and you canâ€™t take all of them away from us. Letâ€™s put it that way,â€ Cloninger said.
Another area that came through for Lincolnton last Friday night was their running game led by C.J. Wilson who topped the century mark.
Junior fullback Marcus Williams provided a nice complement to Wilson, gaining 48 yards on 10 carries.
â€œTo win football games, you have to be able to run the football a little. We improved our run game a little last week,â€ Cloninger said.
When asked what needs to happen to give the Wolves the best chance to win, Cloninger said.
â€œWhat we need is something good to happen to us early. When that happens, it gives us a little bit of confidence and momentum,â€ he said.
Standout defenders Lance Friday, Derek Butler, Drew Mullen and company will have their hands full against the Golden Lions, led by North Carolina commitment senior 5â€™11â€ 185 pound Tarvorris Jolly.
To cause defensive coordinator Ledford Gibson even more headaches is the fact Shelby, who will run a double-wing offense, also has a dominant fullback in 235- pound Arsenio Parks.
â€œYou have to keep an eye on Jolly and you have to keep an eye on him (Parks). They have so many options and so many threats they can go to. Theyâ€™re very hard to prepare for,â€ Cloninger said.
Parks, No. 36, reminds the coach of a certain future hall of fame running back.
â€œHe looks like Jerome Bettis. Heâ€™s a load. The first time I looked at him, I was like oh my goodness,â€ Cloninger said.
In the passing game, quarterback Darryl Montgomery will look for burner Antonio Odum, who caught six balls for 120 yards and two scores in the 2A State Championship last season.
â€œThey got some guys that can fly. We got to find a way to contain them a little bit. I donâ€™t think we can stop them, we just hope to slow them down,â€ Cloninger said.
Cloninger believes two things will be pivotal heading into Fridayâ€™s away gameâ€”ball control and something good to happen early to his team.
â€œIf we can make those two things happen, then I believe we will have a chance to win at the end of the game. Thatâ€™s all you can ask for,â€ he said.
Three of the Wolves next four games will be on the road with South Iredell opening the Southern Piedmont schedule next week.
Lincolnton will host the East Lincoln Mustangs on September 30th in what many believe will be two conference front runners.
by John Mark Brooks