Last week’s county showdown between Lincolnton and West Lincoln was as good as advertised, even given how the Wolves dominated the Rebels in every way possible in the first half.
But that’s why there are two halves to every game (well, except for hockey and sports divided into sets), two sides to every story and two ends to every road.
Things can go south –– or north –– in a moment’s notice. Tables can turn with one play. While Lincolnton held on to a two-score lead at halftime to win 21-13, it didn’t come easy. The Rebels returned the favor in the second half, and came up a missed extra point short of matching Lincolnton’s first-half production. The difference? Darian Roseboro.
Not only did Roseboro do what Division I recruits do best, and that’s change the complexion of the game, but he scored the game-deciding TD with 26 seconds left. His defense and pass rush altered West Lincoln’s game plan. In short, he was the game’s MVP.
It was a great game to witness; one of the better, if not best, Rebels-Wolves games I’ve seen. Here’s hoping tonight’s county showdown is just as good.
EAST LINCOLN (4-1, 1-0) at LINCOLNTON (3-2, 1-0): Since Mike Byus arrived in Denver the teams have split 50/50 in 10 meetings, including two in the state playoffs. They also have a highly-touted D-I recruit each. Offensively, though, East Lincoln runs like a well-oiled machine while the Wolves are currently operating like an overhauled engine during the break-in period: It’s smooth at times, but there’s still some rough idling until everything gets into sync. The Mustangs tout the league’s top offense while the Wolves are seventh. Defensively, it’s a toss-up. Lincolnton is allowing 1.4 more yards per game (276) than its opponent (274.6). Since the start of last season, the only team that has been able to stop East Lincoln has been East Lincoln itself (see: Five turnovers at Gastonia Forestview) as it has won 20 of its last 21 games. East Lincoln 35, Lincolnton 21.
WEST LINCOLN (4-1, 0-1) at BUNKER HILL (4-1, 0-1): While what happened in the past actually had nothing to do with last week’s game, history did repeat itself, sort of, with the Rebels falling to Lincolnton for the 34th time in their last 40 meetings. So here’s another interesting bit of West Lincoln history for you: Since the school opened in 1962, it is 18-33 all-time following its first loss of the season. Other than that little bit of information, the Bears and Rebels are mirror images of each other. The teams are 1-2 in the SD-7 in rushing, 1-2 in overall defense and 2-3 in scoring defense. Under Tom Sain, West Lincoln is 12-11 away from Vale. Geez. (Flips coin.) Bunker Hill 27, West Lincoln 21.
NORTH LINCOLN (1-4, 0-1) at ALEXANDER CENTRAL (2-3, 0-1): The teams have never met, so there’s no series history to go on. But the Cougars do have the third-best offense in the North Piedmont 3A/4A while North Lincoln’s is last. The Knights have had trouble stopping teams with strong offenses (See: Lincolnton, West Lincoln, East Lincoln, South Iredell). Alexander Central 24, North Lincoln 20.