JONATHAN SCRONCE and MICHAEL GEBELEIN
Special to LTN / LTN Staff
VALE — The North Lincoln Knights snapped a four-year losing streak against Lincoln County opponents with a 36-12 win over the West Lincoln Rebels on Friday.
The Knights’ last win against a Lincoln County team came in the 2008 season when they defeated the Rebels 45-19.
“It proves what we, the coaches, have been preaching — the buy-in is worth it,” North Lincoln head coach David Maness said. “If we buy in to what we’re doing and try to do it every week the same way good things are going to happen to us.”
The Rebels fumbled their first two snaps of the game, the second resulting in a safety for the Knights at the 7:22 mark in the first quarter.
The following kickoff was returned for a touchdown by North Lincoln’s Richard Jackson, but was negated by a block in the back penalty against the Knights.
The Rebel defense forced a North Lincoln punt, leading to a nine-play drive, highlighted by a 43-yard run by senior Daniel Davila and a 35-yard completion from Miguel Corella to Dalton Rhoney that set the Rebels up at the 1-yard line.
Corella took the ball in on a sneak to give West Lincoln their only lead of the night at 6-2 with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to West Lincoln’s 5-yard line. North Lincoln fullback David Spinner took the ball across the line for the first of his four touchdowns on the night, giving the Knights an 8-6 lead that they never relinquished.
The Knights took a 16-6 lead on a 1-yard run by Spinner and a two-point conversion with five minutes remaining in the first half. Spinner scored again, on a 3-yard run, with under two minutes left in the first half.
The North Lincoln defense took over the second quarter, allowing only three first downs to the Rebels and making a stand late in the quarter on fourth-and-2. The Knights stuffed Corella for a 1-yard gain to take over on downs at their own 18-yard line.
The Rebels forced the Knights to punt on the opening drive of the third quarter. The West Lincoln offense appeared to find its rhythm, going on a 16-play drive that included a 25-yard pass from Corella to Rhoney. Davila scored from 3 yards out to pull the Rebels within 10 points of the Knights as the third quarter ended.
The Knights executed a fake punt on their next possession. Paul Regan faked the punt and picked up the first down to extend the drive. Spinner got his final touchdown of the game from 1-yard out with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter.
North Lincoln senior Scott DeLuca intercepted a West Lincoln pass, setting up the Knights at the West Lincoln 34-yard line. The Knights turned to DeLuca for a 22 yard touchdown run.