Special to LTN
BESSEMER CITY — Ask North Lincoln coach Dave Maness to outline his perfect game plan and it certainly would include a mixture of the following: control the line of scrimmage with a punishing ground game, create turnovers, protect the ball and limit big plays on defense.
The Knights executed to near perfection on Friday in thoroughly dominating Bessemer City, 42-6, in a game that not even the final score accurately reflects just how lopsided the game was.
North Lincoln scored on all four of its first-half possessions, forced three turnovers and outgained the Yellow Jackets 240 to 55 in the opening half while taking a 35-0 lead.
“We played really well,” Maness couldn’t help say with a smile. “We had one offensive penalty, a delay of game. Then we had a facemask penalty on the last play of the half. Other than that, it was pretty good.”
Then, after stopping Bessemer City on fourth-and-6 to open the second half, David Spinner bulled his way up the middle for a 53-yard scoring run with 9:11 left in the quarter to stretch the lead to 42-0.
“I felt like I was going to get a long touchdown sometime in the game,” said Spinner, who didn’t gain more than five yards on any of his other 10 carries. “Blocking — it was good blocking.”
Because of the commanding lead, the officials kept the clock running in the second half, preventing the outcome from becoming worse.
It was obvious from the start that North Lincoln was playing with nothing to lose. The Knights (3-8, 3-4 Southern Piedmont Conference) entered the game as long shots to qualify for the playoffs. They did not reach the postseason, but walked away with an impressive victory to close the season.
North Lincoln ran the ball nine consecutive times, with Richard Jackson scoring from 3 yards to give the Knights an early 7-0 lead.
Bessemer City (1-10, 1-6) was stopped on fourth down on the ensuing drive and the Knights marched down the field in 14 plays, covering all 74 yards on the ground to take a 14-0 lead with 10:59 left in the half.
That’s when things really went downhill for the Yellow Jackets.
On three of Bessemer City’s next four plays from scrimmage, the Jackets turned the ball over on fumbles. North Lincoln cashed in on each of them with a Carlos Arceyut 10-yard scoring run, a Jackson 10-yard run and Taylor Woodby scooped up the third turnover of the half and scored with a bevy of blockers leading the way from 30 yards to make it 35-0 with 1:00 left in the half.
“Do what we do. That’s us. That’s our M.O,” Maness said of his team’s performance. “We were physical and we executed well early. We had one turnover in the ballgame, but our objective was to come in play well and finish it, come back out in the third quarter and play hard again. That was something we struggled with over the year and we wanted to do a little better tonight.”
On the night, North Lincoln outgained Bessemer City 346-156 and ran nearly twice as many offensive plays. Neither team punted in the game and the only things keeping the Knights out of the end zone on their non-scoring possessions were a fumble, a turnover on downs deep in Bessemer City territory and the game’s final horn.