Game of the Week: East Lincoln Mustangs (8-0, 4-0 SPC) at Lake Norman Charter Knights (7-0, 4-0 SPC)
The only unbeaten teams left in the Southern Piedmont Conference battle for the top spot today.
“It’s a big game for both groups,” East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus said. “Everybody wants to win their conference. We’re playing for the conference championship.”
The East Lincoln Mustangs and the Lake Norman Charter Knights are the two most explosive offenses in the conference, with Lake Norman Charter scoring over 50 points per game using a balanced attack between running and passing.
The Mustangs average just over 40 points per game and 405 yards per game, a slight lead over Lake Norman Charter’s 399 total yards per game.
Junior Lake Norman Charter quarterback Michael Dorsainvil has completed 39 of his 75 season pass attempts for 868 yards and 12 touchdowns with one interception. Senior Alex Scearce (17-464 yards, seven touchdowns) is his favorite target, and senior Tripp Smith leads the rushing game with nearly 105 yards per game.
The Mustangs have taken their last two wins with freshman quarterback Chaz Surratt substituting in place of senior Garrett Young, who suffered a knee injury against Lincolnton on September 28 while leading the conference with 273 passing yards and three touchdowns per game. Young is due for surgery after football season ends, but Byus said he has a knee brace and is “at about 60 percent” and could see playing time today.
“He’ll play some on Friday, but I don’t know how much,” Byus said. “He knows he has to have surgery. He’s talked to different doctors and they’re telling him whether he has surgery now or waits and does what he can, it isn’t going to make it worse.”
Byus said, despite the injury, Young still has his two most important attributes.
“He’s a little bit less mobile then he was, but he still has his head and his arm,” he said.
Surratt has proved himself capable of running East Lincoln’s spread offense in Young’s absence. He ran for 100 yards and a touchdown and passed for 134 yards and two touchdowns against West Lincoln last week.
Senior East Lincoln running back Marquis Pharr, who leads the East Lincoln ground attack with 44 carries for 429 yards and four touchdowns, is out for today’s game with an injury.
North Lincoln Knights (1-7, 1-3) at West Lincoln Rebels (4-4, 2-2)
The West Lincoln Rebels have a chance for a third conference win in today’s matchup with the North Lincoln Knights.
The Knights have struggled this season, with one win, but West Lincoln head coach Tom Sain said the Rebels can’t afford to be complacent today.
“They’re a very good looking team,” he said. “I don’t think their record indicates how good they are. They’re doing what every team wants to do which is get better every week. You can’t take them lightly at all.”
The Rebels appear to have hit their offensive stride after moving junior Miguel Corella to quarterback. Corella matched senior Daniel Davila with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown last week.
“That’s the thing with the wing-T offense,” Sain said. “You have to keep the defense off-balance. You can’t give them a steady diet of the same running back. We’re trying to get some different people in different looks and hopefully one complements the other.”
Sain said he was impressed by North Lincoln running back Scott DeLuca (61-326 yards, two touchdowns) and the Knights’ tight offensive formation and strong offensive line.
“Their line is very good coming off the football,” he said. “The formation is tough because you’re not going to be able to find the football as easily. As soon as you stand up you’re going to be exposed to blocks and if we do that we’ll never get to the football.”
Bessemer City Yellow Jackets (1-7, 1-3) at Lincolnton Wolves (3-5, 2-2)
The Lincolnton Wolves aim to win their second game in a row for the first time this season against the visiting Bessemer City Yellow Jackets.
Bessemer City got its first win of the season last week in a 40-13 win over Highland Tech, but has allowed an average of nearly 41 points to its opponents’ offenses.
“The problem with them is just like a lot of us, they’re numbers are a little short,” Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger said. “They’re limited in that way, but I’m impressed with their speed. They’ve moved the ball against people all year long. This is a real scary situation for us because they have two players faster than anyone we have on the team. If they get loose they’re going to score on us. They can score from anywhere and that puts us in a little bit of a bind.”
Those two players, quarterback Damian Scott and Jha’Qui Adams, were instrumental in Bessemer City’s win last week. The Yellow Jackets will be forced to contend with sophomore Lincolnton linebacker Darian Roseboro, a constant threat to his opponents’ backfield, who was offered a scholarship by UNC-Chapel Hill this past weekend.
Cloninger said the Wolves’ season-high 111 yards passing by freshman quarterback Jordon Easter last week was a sign the team is moving in the right direction.
“One thing that helped us is that we threw the ball well,” he said. “We’re going to have to open up the offense. We feel like Jordon has been there long enough. We were trying to just let him run the offense for a while and not make mistakes but right now we want to open it up a little bit and get most of our offense in with him.”
Cloninger said a win today was key to the Wolves’ playoff hopes.
“Four wins is kind of the magic number to qualify for the playoffs so that’s a big goal for us,” he said. “We’ve been pretty good at home. All of our wins have come at home. We feel comfortable here. We need to continue our success to build something and hopefully we can qualify for the playoffs.”