Where is there to go for Lincolnton after an impressive 60-6 victory? Perhaps, more pointedly, how do you prepare for a winless team in the Bessemer City Yellow Jackets?
Anyone who knows Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger also knows his motto, â€˜Weâ€™re going to take them one game at a time.â€™
While thatâ€™s a clichÐ¹ heard throughout the nation on a week-to-week basis, you can always expect it from Cloninger. This week, heâ€™s preparing his team no differently.
â€œWe need to try to continue to be 50 run/ 50 pass, I think thatâ€™s when weâ€™re most successful,â€ Cloninger said.
Against West Lincoln, the Wolves gained 408 total yards, including 190 passing yards by senior quarterback Zack Gibson, who threw for six touchdowns.
C.J. â€˜The Snakeâ€™ Wilson also recorded a career-high with four touchdowns, three of them coming via the pass. Demery Brewer made his mark with three touchdowns of his own, demonstrating soft hands and a knack for finding holes in the secondary.
Another star of the game was fullback Marcus Williams, who gained 101 yards on just nine carries.
â€œWeâ€™re just going to have to run the football like we like to. Marcus is doing very well for us. He better thank the offensive linemen because they gave him big holes to run through,â€ Cloninger said. â€œOur fullback is not going to get the ball a lot, but he took advantage of his opportunities and ran real well,â€ he added.
The line comprised of Allen the senior and four sophomores opened holes for Lincolnton ball carriers and gave Gibson plenty of time to throw the ball. Octavious Reid, James Allen, Tom Deal, Nate Wright and Daniel Morrison have been solid all season long, despite their inexperience.
The Yellow Jackets will look to run the option, as theyâ€™ll have a running back and a swing back in the backfield with quarterback Jeremy Howell (5â€™10â€ 220).
â€œHeâ€™s a big strong kid. He hides the ball well and if youâ€™re not careful heâ€™ll run over you,â€ Cloninger said of Howell.
Defensive linemen Mikey Bracey, Kenny Reed, Drew Mullen, Roger Rojas, Justin Mayfield and Justin Farley all had a stellar performance against West Lincoln.
This week, against Bessemer, theyâ€™re looking for much of the same.
Cloninger is trying desperately to get the point across to his team they are only as good as their next game. While they are heavily favored, the coach is attempting to impress on his players that headlines and spreads wonâ€™t mean much when they step on the fieldâ€”what matters is how they play.
â€œOur team is reading the newspaper, listening to their family and friends telling them theyâ€™re real good. You have to play each game, because any given night anybody can win,â€ he said.
â€œWe canâ€™t just sit back and read the paper and think weâ€™re good. If we do, weâ€™re going to get beat.â€
by John Mark Brooks