The much-anticipated Southern Piedmont showdown, a battle for first place, never materialized at Douglas C. Leonhardt Stadium Friday night.
Lincolnton (7-1, 3-0) capitalized early on a short field and had its offense clicking on all cylinders, scoring on 9-of-11 possessions. The defense, led by senior defensive lineman Kenny Reed, wasnâ€™t too shabby either.
All of it translated into a 60-6 bludgeoning of the home Rebels (3-6, 3-1).
After a lackluster performance against East Lincoln, senior quarterback Zack Gibson was chomping at the bit to get back on the field.
He played like it.
Gibson threw for a career-high six touchdowns, connecting on an efficient 9-of-15 passing for 190 yards.
â€œAll I could think about, was I have to play good, I have to complete passes. This week all Iâ€™ve been thinking about is football, football, football every minute of the time,â€ the 6â€™2â€ leader said. â€œI was ready to play that next Saturday, because the way I played against East Lincoln was just horrible, so I was ready to play,â€ he added.
Sophomore tight end Demery Brewer had a night to remember as one of Gibsonâ€™s two favorite targets.
The 6â€™1â€ 175 Brewer had a knack for finding holes in the Rebelsâ€™ secondary.
Scoring on receptions of five, 27 and four yards, Brewer enjoyed a career-high three touchdowns.
To put it simply, he and Gibson were on the same page.
â€œI just went out there and did the best I can. They just left me wide open. Zack just got me the ball and there it was,â€ he said. â€œI think weâ€™ve been clicking pretty much the whole season, but even more so tonight,â€ he added.
Another sophomore refused to play second fiddle, as running back C.J. â€˜The Snakeâ€™ Wilson reeled in three passes for 130 yards.
The slithery Wilson connected with Gibson for touchdowns of 58, 35 and 37 yards, combining accurate passes with deadly runs after the catch.
On the night, he also scored a career-high four touchdowns.
â€œThe offensive line gave Zack time to throw the ball. I donâ€™t think we had any sacks to be honest. They did a great job. If it wasnâ€™t for the lineâ€”60 points wouldnâ€™t have been on the board,â€ he said.
Ben Poole was the only bright spot for Rebels, picking Gibson off and demonstrating blazing speed on a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Other than that, there wasnâ€™t too much to cheer about if you were clad in red and gray.
Paul â€˜The Bruiserâ€™ Chambers and Gene Arp were held to a combined 61 yards on 29 attempts by Lincolntonâ€™s physical defensive line.
â€œThey were well-rested, two weeks. Theyâ€™re a good football team. Mentally, I think we were ready to go, but physically I think we were tired,â€ West Lincoln head coach Randall Gusler said, alluding to the three days his team had in preparation.
Junior fullback Marcus Williams paced Lincolnton on the ground with nine carries for 101 yards, including turning in one of the hardest hits of the night, plowing over a defender capping a 51-yard run down to the two-yard line.
Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger felt his team put it all together and who could blame him?
â€œWe had two weeks to prepare for them. We were healthy, itâ€™s a rivalry game and our kids were ready to play,â€ he said. â€œI think the real Lincolnton team showed up tonight, instead of what weâ€™ve been doing the last few weeks.â€
Lincolntonâ€™s homecoming is Friday against hapless and young Bessemer City. West Lincoln will host East Lincoln to see who will be second place in the conference.
â€œWe knew we had to play a mistake-free game and we didnâ€™t. Things went crazy there for a little bit and once you get down like that, itâ€™s tough to come back out of that hole,â€ Gusler said.
NOTES: Lance â€˜Thank God Itâ€™sâ€™ Friday and Demery Williams, who scored on an eight-yard rushing touchdown both sported mo-hawks.
Friday also had an interception.
Lincolntonâ€™s Josh Adams, a reserve player, turned in one of the hardest hits of the night on a running play with a scoop slam.
Itâ€™s believed junior quarterback Taylor Woodie sprained his MCL just before the half for West. He did not return to the ballgame.
by John Mark Brooks