PUMPKIN CENTER — After their win last week, the North Lincoln Knights emerged more energetic at the start of Friday night’s matchup against the Lake Norman Charter Knights, though they fell to Lake Norman 32-12.
A “rough and tumble” opening 12 minutes, both teams matched each other step for step and play for play, with no points on the scoreboard heading into the second quarter.
Wide receiver Scott DeLuca, Richard Jackson, fullback David Spinner and senior running back Carlos Arceyut made efforts to scoot ahead of the visitors, with no success at first.
DeLuca and the North Lincoln offensive line managed to move down the field and into field goal range, putting Jacob Stegal in good position to put the first number on the board of the night, two minutes into the quarter.
Though NLHS’ defense seemed stronger last week, LNC answered with a touchdown by senior wide receiver Alex Scearce — a lead they would keep the rest of the game.
“Lake Norman Charter is an explosive team,” North Lincoln head coach David Maness said. “But I was pleased from a defensive standpoint; they’re (the team) still very young — we had a 13-year old who started, Jimmie Scott, who played on the defensive line and landed three solo tackles. We were pretty consistent offensively too.”
A late-hit out-of-bounds penalty and a two-point conversion to follow, put a halt on the home team’s momentum and had Lake Norman fans excited for the biggest lead of the game, yet.
DeLuca continued his efforts through the first half, but was having difficulty breaking through the LNC defensive line to obtain more points for his team pre-halftime, though he contributed 67 rushing yards to his team’s 172.
Scearce scored both of his team’s two-point conversions and completed six solo tackles again North Lincoln.
As the first half started winding down, Spinner inched NLHS closer to the end zone, getting the offense at fourth and goal and later scoring the team’s first touchdown of the night.
After a failed two-point conversion for the Knights, Lake Norman’s Cameron Krueger, a senior, ran the ball 33 yards from the kickoff, putting LNC in good field position for the final minutes of play.
After the homecoming festivities commenced and the third quarter began, Lake Norman came out aggressive and made their way down the field. After three minutes into the second half, the visitors were at first and goal. Senior Tripp Smith scored the first touchdown of the half for LNC with eight and a half minutes to go, followed with a two-point conversion — showing no mercy for the Knights as they gained a 15-point lead on North Lincoln.
Spinner and DeLuca tried to chip away at the ever-expanding lead of their opponents with an interception and a field goal for North Lincoln, but another big run from Krueger and another touchdown from Scearce slowed North Lincoln and showed a tired Knights team near the middle of the last quarter.
Offsides penalties and missed passes from NLHS set a defeated tone for the rest of the night, though a one-handed almost-catch from DeLuca near the end zone with less than a minute left pepped up the crowd. But neither DeLuca nor the rest of the North Lincoln Knights offense could lessen the 20-point lead of Lake Norman Charter.
“They played with a lot of heart, even though we had a lot of illness and injury on the team lately,” Maness said. “We’ve been playing better the last two weeks and we’ll continue to work on the fundamentals, working on blocking and tackling. The better you are at those, the better you’ll be.”