East Lincoln dominated South Iredell on both sides of the ball in a convincing 31-0 victory Friday.
With the Mustangs clinging to a 12-0 advantage, the Vikings moved the ball inside East Lincolnâ€™s 10 yard line, courtesy of a long run by fullback E.J. Nesbit.
Senior Thomas â€˜The Silent Assassinâ€™ Huntley turned in two of the biggest plays of the night from his corner position. First, Huntley hawked down Nesbit from the other side of the fied, preventing a touchdown.
Then three plays later on fourth down, benefiting from defensive end Travis Hoshellâ€™s pressure, Huntley picked off his state-leading 10th pass. The Mustangs never looked back.
â€œHeâ€™s a playmaker and that kept it from being a game really. They get a lot of momentum if theyâ€™re able to stick it in the end zone there,â€ East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus said. â€œYouâ€™re talking about a kid who didnâ€™t give up on the play and then on fourth down he really solidified it by picking off a pass,â€ he added.
The Mustangs proceeded to go 90 yards with senior quarterback Greyson Schram finding fellow senior Nick Harmon on a 13-yard corner route to take a commanding three-score lead.
East Lincoln stymied South Iredell all night, allowing only 174 all-purpose yards and forcing four turnovers.
â€œWe played super defensively. We were able to keep big plays from happening. They drove the ball on us some, but they had one big play in the third quarter and then we buckled down and stopped them,â€ Byus said.
Byus credits his defensive staff of Tim Miller, Chris Matile and Matt Watson for much of the kidsâ€™ success.
â€œThey did a great job getting our kids prepared and the defense did a great job of playing as a unit. You donâ€™t have a shutout because one guy did something,â€
As good as the defense was, the offense was just as solid racking up 432 all-purpose yards with Huntley, Schram and Ryan Sykes all turning in big nights.
Huntley caught two of Schramâ€™s touchdown passes, a 57-yarder and six-yarder. Sykes carried the ball 22 times for 167 yards and one touchdown, shredding the No. 1 scoring defense (entering last Friday) in the Southern Piedmont.
â€œOur O-line did a pretty dang good job. Everybodyâ€™s O-line makes mistakes during the course of the game, but theyâ€™re young, so theyâ€™re not going to play a perfect game,â€ Byus said. â€œBut theyâ€™re getting better and the longer the game went, the better they did,â€ he added.
Schram was 10-for-16, continuing his efficient play, passing for 125 yards and three touchdowns.
â€œRyan was awesome and Greyson is really coming on, making good reads and good decisions,â€ Byus said.
Payton Brady scored the Mustangsâ€™ final points of the night on a 19-yard run from the quarterback position.
Corners Clayon Conner and Cody Whitt each picked off passes for East Lincoln as part of the stingy defensive effort.
by John Mark Brooks