By The Lincoln-Times News
Jordon Easter accounted for three touchdowns and 136 yards and Lincolnton escaped with a 28-27 win over North Lincoln in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
Easter had TD runs of 1 and 44 yards, and connected with Justice Whitesides for a 34-yard TD pass. But the story was what the Knights didn’t do.
With a chance to tie and possibly force overtime, North Lincoln (0-1) botched the snap on the PAT with 9 seconds to play that resulted in a failed conversion, Richard Jackson had an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD called back inside of 6 ½ minutes left due to a celebration penalty and the Knights had first-and-goal from the 1 midway through the second quarter and failed to score. Junior quarterback Chase Caldwell also threw three interceptions.
Jackson and Ethan Gram had 72 yards rushing apiece. Caldwell was 7 of 19 passing for 110 yards and three picks.
The Wolves (1-0) led 21-7 until Jackson punched it in from the Lincolnton 1 with 7:24 left in the third quarter. Jackson added a 6-yard TD run early in the fourth to tie, then Quinlyn Harris made it 28-21 with a 10-yard run with 6:25 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff Jackson took it to the house but a flag thrown about 10 yards behind the play near the 20 which had the potential tying score called back. Three plays later Caldwell threw his third pick of the night, the second to Zoauntarrious Brunt.
Lincolton went three-and-out, and the Knights drove 87 yards in 17 plays to pull within a point on Jackson’s 5-yard scamper to the end zone — his third TD of the night. But the snap on the PAT was wide, forcing a conversion attempt that fell incomplete.
WEST LINCOLN 28, VALDESE DRAUGHN 21
VALE — The Rebels used the big play to run their way out of a 14-point hole at the half to win their season opener for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
West Lincoln’s Daniel Schesny had a pair of returns for TDs — a kickoff return for 87 yards and a punt return for 79 — and Miguel Corella scored from 62 yards out with 2:21 left in the third quarter to tie it at 21.
Daniel Davila, who had a game-high 70 yards rushing on 18 carries, took it in from the 1 with 3:21 to play for the final score.
Corella had 61 yards on 12 carries.
Draughn (0-1) led 14-0 after TD runs by Domonique Patterson and Donnie Patton, then the Rebels (1-0) got on the board when Schesny returned the ensuing kickoff for a score with 9:30 left in the half.
EAST LINCOLN 37, EAST GASTON 22
MOUNT HOLLY — The Mustangs ran their win streak to 17 games dating back to last year’s unbeaten season by walloping the Warriors in the season opener for both teams.
Sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt scored three of his five touchdowns in the first half en route to a 21-0 halftime lead. He finished 14 of 26 passing for 136 yards and a TD and ran for 126 yards and four TDs on 17 carries.
East Gaston (0-1) responded by scoring 15 unanswered points in the third quarter, but Surratt connected with Sage Surratt for a 28-yard TD strike and added another rushing TD to put it out of reach.
For more on these games, see Monday’s edition of the Lincoln Times-News.