The North Lincoln Knights are up against one of the toughest defenses in the Southern Piedmont this week in the South Iredell Vikings.
After amassing 516 total yards against Bessemer City, Knightsâ€™ head coach Matt Beam knows this week his team will have their hands full.
The Vikings boast, arguably, the best defensive line in the Southern Piedmont led by their front three: sophomore Justin Ramsey (6â€™3â€ 245), sophomore Brandon Stewart (6â€™0â€ 215) and junior Derrick McCrae (6â€™2â€ 265).
â€œIt will be a big test for our offensive line. Their defensive front three are as good as anybody weâ€™ve played,â€ Beam said.
â€œThey look strong, athletic and are very big,â€ he added.
While South Iredellâ€™s defensive front garners a lot of attention, sophomore free safety William Marion (6â€™2â€ 175) is also making opponents take notice.
â€œHe is as good as defensive player in our conference from what Iâ€™ve seen. Heâ€™s tough, he flies around and he tries to knock your head head off,â€ Beam said.
â€œTheyâ€™re solid on defense and if you make a mistake, theyâ€™re going to burn you on it.â€
Junior Trent Hopkins is coming off a spectacular game, accounting for a career-high seven touchdowns.
For the third time this season, the heralded quarterback passed for over 100 yards and rushed for 100 against the Jackets.
While the sledding figures to be tougher against South Iredell, Beam believes thatâ€™s no different from every week.
â€œAnybody that scouts us, they know they have to stop Trent. I think every teamâ€™s game plan from Maiden to Bessemer City will say that,â€ he said.
â€œIâ€™m sure theyâ€™re going to be watching them, so weâ€™ll have to have some people step up,â€ he added.
Sophomore tight end David Ward caught two touchdown passes and could be a weapon again in the passing game.
The Vikings offense will run a wishbone set and will occasionally mix in the option.
Sophomore Anthony Twaites is more of a power runner, while freshman Santario White will look to gain the edge with his speed.
â€œThey run it much better than they pass it and theyâ€™ll run it most of the time,â€ Beam said.
â€œIf we could put some points on the board quick and get them to where they have to throw it, then weâ€™ll be in good shape.â€
Beam and his team continue to keep their eyes on the playoffs and they know with a win this Friday, it would sure help their shot.
â€œIt would really help us in terms of our playoff chances, then we have the bye week where we can get some people healed up and get ready to play Cherryville the next week,â€ Beam said.
The coach feels a big play on special teams would certainly improve their chances of winning.
â€œIf we can score on a kickoff, a punt return or defensive touchdown that could really hurt them,â€ Beam said.
by John Mark Brooks