By RYAN HERMAN
NEWTON –– Teams generally schedule a beatable opponent for their homecoming.
West Lincoln is proving it’s not one of them.
Miguel Corella ran for 209 yards and four touchdowns and Taylor Long added 163 yards and two scores as the Rebels beat Newton-Conover 48-19 on its homecoming Friday and won at Gurley Stadium for the first time.
It was the second straight week a team hosted the Rebels (6-1, 2-1 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A) for its homecoming, and for the second straight week West Lincoln boarded its bus with a win.
“You always want to go spoil another team’s homecoming, but most of all you want to go play well and have a good game,” Rebels coach Tom Sain said. “That was good to win two homecoming games on the road.”
Daniel Davila had 93 yards rushing and a TD as the Rebels ran for 492 yards and broke open a close game with 34 second-half points.
Newton-Conover, which trailed just 14-7 at halftime, was without several key players due to injuries and suspensions and suited just 17 varsity players, two Catawba County newspapers reported.
The Red Devils (2-5, 1-2) called up several junior varsity players to fill the roster, the Observer News Enterprise and the Hickory Daily Record said, just 24 hours after the Rebels JV team handed Newton-Conover a 42-8 loss.
Whether fatigue was a factor for the Red Devils in the second half Sain doesn’t know, but his team put its foot on the gas in the final 24 minutes.
West Lincoln went up 21-7 on Corella’s 85-yard TD run less than 3 minutes into the third quarter, then quadrupled its lead on Newton-Conover when Davila took it to the end zone with 8:23 left in the quarter.
After Nick Baker scored on an 11-yard run to make it 28-13 at the end of the third, the Rebels put three unanswered TDs on the board to turn it into a rout.
Long scored on a 26-yard run and Corella added back-to-back TDs on runs of 5 and 52 yards for a 48-13 lead with 6:51 left to play.
Ivan Cavillo converted six of his seven PATs.
Red Devils quarterback Cameron Stanley scored on a 7-yard run as time expired for the final score.
“The offense, they got out and ran,” Sain said. “It was a good team effort on offense.”
West Lincoln, which owns the league’s top defense, held the SD-7’s second-best offense to 146 yards rushing and 235 total yards.
Newton-Conover was averaging over 372 yards per game going in, second to East Lincoln’s 423.
Stanley was 8 of 19 passing for 89 yards with a score and an interception. His 15-yard TD pass to Tyrell Fleming gave the Red Devils their first score with 8 seconds left in the first half.
“It’s just getting prepared. Coach (Steven) Peeler, the defensive coordinator, is doing a great job of getting the defense ready,” Sain said. “The biggest thing was containing Newton-Conover’s speed. We knew they were fast. … Everybody getting to the football is a big thing on defense, and we work on that all week.”
The win was only West Lincoln’s second in 22 games against Newton-Conover, and its first since 2003. The Rebels, who are tied with Lincolnton for third in the league standings, had never won on the Red Devils’ home field in their previous nine tries.
West Lincoln has enjoyed spoiling the homecomings of two teams in the last two weeks –– it beat Bunker Hill on its homecoming two Fridays ago –– but this week is its own homecoming, and it comes against last-place and one-win West Caldwell.
After two huge wins the Rebels’ goal is simple: Keep it going.
“We just keep doing the same thing. I don’t know that you do anything different,” Sain said. “You prepare as you always prepare. I always say, ‘Get better every week.’ We’ve got to keep getting better every week.”
Lincoln Times-News correspondent Jonathan Scronce contributed to this article.