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County teams battle for wins as regular season winds down

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Lincolnton freshman Willie Cobb carries the ball against Bessemer City.

Wolves, Knights meet today after taking big wins last week

MICHAEL GEBELEIN
Sports Editor

Game of the Week: Lincolnton Wolves (4-5, 3-2 SPC) at North Lincoln Knights (2-7, 2-3 SPC)
The North Lincoln Knights and the Lincolnton Wolves are both coming off of big wins last week.
The Knights snapped a 12-game losing streak against Lincoln County opponents that dated back to the 2008 season with a 36-12 win over the West Lincoln Rebels.
The Wolves defeated Bessemer City 48-14 last week to move to 3-2 in the Southern Piedmont Conference standings — the first time the team has had a winning record in the SPC standings this season — and one game back from .500 in the overall standings.
Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger said the clash between two teams on an upswing could create an interesting football game.
“That’s a concern for me,” he said. “They’re (North Lincoln) on top of the world. They beat a county rival team and they’re feeling good about themselves. We have it too right now. We have some confidence. We’re playing as well as we’ve played all year long.”
Cloninger said the Knights’ tight offensive formation and their size on both lines will provide a challenge to the Wolves.
“You’re used to being spread out all over the field,” he said. “With this offense that North runs, you have to get in there tight with them, boot to boot. You try to beat them to the edge on offense and keep them guessing. I watched the West Lincoln game, and that was a battle between two big, physical teams. We’re nowhere near the size that North Lincoln or West Lincoln has. We’ll have to find some creases. That’s why we run the offense we run — so we don’t have to block every big person, we can read them.”

West Lincoln Rebels (4-5, 2-3 SPC) at Bessemer City Yellow Jackets (1-8, 1-4 SPC)
The West Lincoln Rebels slipped into the bottom half of the Southern Piedmont Conference standings with a loss to the North Lincoln Knights last week, but have a chance to pull back to .500 against a Bessemer City team that has won only one game this year.
The Yellow Jackets are near the bottom of the conference in both yards of offense and yards allowed. The Rebels are averaging nearly 275 rushing yards per game, and senior fullback Daniel Davila leads the conference with 1,292 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 204 carries.
The Yellow Jackets have strong running backs in their triple-option offense in quarterback Damian Scott and running back Jha’Qui Adams.

Highland Tech Rams (0-8, 0-5 SPC) at East Lincoln Mustangs (9-0, 5-0 SPC)
The teams at opposite ends of the Southern Piedmont Conference standings meet today when the undefeated East Lincoln Mustangs host the winless Highland Tech Rams.
“I’m the world’s worst for fearing every opponent,” East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus said. “But they’re not quite where they want to be as a program yet. We want to work hard during the week to get better. We’ll play our kids at least one half of a game on game night and then if things are starting to get out of hand, we’ve brought up a lot of young kids. We can play a normal football game with our young kids. I think it helps them more to play a normal game than to play with a running clock and just hand the ball off and run dive after dive.”
East Lincoln’s junior varsity team had the week off because Highland Tech did not field a junior team. Many of the East Lincoln players who may see time on the field in today’s game will also be brought up for the playoffs.
“We have enough young kids that we can play a whole game,” Byus said, “and hopefully level out the competition where both teams get something out of it.”
Senior East Lincoln quarterback Garrett Young is making his second start after returning from a knee injury. He threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 10 completions in last week’s 35-21 win over Lake Norman Charter.
“He progresses a little every day and he’s learning how to deal with the injury,” Byus said. “The more days he practices in that big, heavy knee brace the more he gets used to it.”

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