Anyone clad in black and gold is happy the Lincolnton Wolves were rewarded with a No. 1 seed. And while Lincolnton coaches and players alike feel good about that, they also know just as quickly as they earned their impressive 10-0 record and No. 1 ranking in the state, they can go home.
Thatâ€™s the message head coach Scott Cloninger has been sending to his team as the Wolves welcome No. 16 seed Mountain Heritage into Lincolnton Memorial Stadium Friday night.
â€œYes, we are the No. 1 seed, but if you lose you go home. You have to take them one game at time, you donâ€™t look ahead,â€ Cloninger said. â€œYou have to understand youâ€™re playing one of the 64 best teams in the state and you have to be prepared mentally and physically to play,â€ he added.
The Wolves offense has been a well-oiled machine recently averaging BLANK points in the past five games. An instrumental part of Lincolntonâ€™s offense is sophomore running back C.J. Wilson, who topped the 100-yard mark last week against North Lincoln and scored three all-purpose touchdowns.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to be able to run the ball against a big, strong defensive team in Mount Heritage,â€ Cloninger said.
With Lincolnton possessing the ability to strike from anywhere on the field, the Cougars, who run a 3-5 defense, will be no different from other team as theyâ€™ll look to sustain drives to keep the Wolves off the field.
â€œI think their game plan will be to ball-control us, so we have to take advantage each time we have the football,â€ Cloninger said.
Some teams facing a 3-5 defense would be apprehensive, because it can pose problems of who to block, but the defensive set will look familiar to the Wolves, having faced one in their last game.
â€œThatâ€™s an advantage for us because we just played North Lincoln. We know what theyâ€™ll give you and what theyâ€™ll take. That will be two weeks in a row weâ€™ll be able to block the same defense,â€ Cloninger said.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cougars run a flex bone offense with some wishbone and Wing-T mixed in.
Both the quarterback Anthony Silvers and running back Shamale Lee bring good size (at 6â€™1â€ 215) to the table and both have above average speed. Cloninger estimates the quarterback carries the ball 60 percent of the time.
â€œWe just played a quarterback who is 215 in Hopkins, who likes to run. They do a couple of different things: they run a mid-line, quarterback trap and draws,â€ he said.
When Silvers is not toting the football, Lee will carry the load.
â€œTheyâ€™re either going to throw him the football or heâ€™s going to run the football. The key to our success is stopping those two young men. Coach Robinson is a good coachâ€”heâ€™s putting the ball in the two peopleâ€™s hands that give him the best opportunity to win,â€ Cloninger said.
A week ago, the Wolves defense allowed only 66 yards on 28 carries in a dominating display of rush defense. Lance â€˜Thank God Itâ€™sâ€™ Friday, Derek Butler, Kenny Reed and Roger Rojas were largely responsible for the impressive defensive effort.
Talented corners Tavares Jefferies and Darrell â€˜Chiefâ€™ Friday will look to stop the Cougars when they put put the ball in the air.
by John Mark Brooks