By RYAN HERMAN
West Lincoln had a little trouble defending the pass against West Caldwell last week.
Tonight it gets the most prolific, pass-happy team in the conference.
The Rebels will try to shake up the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A race today when it travels to undefeated Maiden. West Lincoln did sport the league’s top defense in terms of yards allowed, but after giving up 279 yards passing in a 49-19 win over the Warriors, the Rebels slipped to second.
The top spot was taken over by East Lincoln, which also owns the league’s best offense. But none of the offenses have been as deadly through the air as Maiden’s.
The Blue Devils (8-0, 4-0), ranked eighth in the latest statewide Associated Press 2A media poll, have thrown for 2,002 yards and 29 touchdowns –– all by senior quarterback Jake McRee.
McRee’s numbers –– 110 completions in 187 attempts with eight interceptions, and 250.3 yards per game –– are 583 yards better than East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surratt, who has 1,419 passing yards on the year.
Maiden also has three receivers with at least 443 yards apiece.
“They throw the football a lot, so we’ve got to get prepared for that. There’s a lot to get prepared for this week,” West Lincoln coach Tom Sain said. “The things that we’ve learned up until this point, we’ve got to keep doing what we do.”
While the Rebels fell from the top spot in overall defense –– East Lincoln held
Newton-Conover to 208 total yards last week –– they’re still pretty good at what they do, at 255.8 yards allowed per game.
Although it hasn’t faced too many teams that like to pass, West Lincoln has the league’s second best pass defense behind Bandys (748) at 820 total yards passing allowed this year.
Bandys held McRee and the Blue Devils to a season-low 171 yards passing last week. Maiden won 21-19.
The Blue Devils don’t run the ball very often; they’re last in the league in rushing at 111.1 yards per game. And the Rebels have allowed the second fewest rushing yards this year at 1,226. So they know Maiden is going to go to the air.
It’s just a matter of stopping it.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge,” Sain said. “It’s not going to be an easy task to go to Maiden, because that’s the biggest little football town in North Carolina. We’ll have to be prepared.”
WEST CALDWELL at EAST LINCOLN
The Mustangs host the Warriors for homecoming tonight two days after receiving news that they’re now 4-4 instead of 7-1.
Regardless of its overall record, East Lincoln still sports the SD-7’s best offense at 409.1 yards per game and its best defense and 247.5 yards allowed per game. It’s also still 4-0 in league play.
West Caldwell (1-7, 0-4) is just the opposite. Despite junior quarterback Dylan West’s 22-for-36 night passing for 260 yards and a pair of scores last week at West Lincoln, the Warriors are still dead last in offense (236.4 yards/game) and defense (366.6 yards/game).
NEWTON-CONOVER at LINCOLNTON
The Wolves host the Red Devils tonight after their best offensive night of the year.
Lincolnton (5-3, 3-1) had season highs in points and yards (468) in its 35-23 win at Bunker Hill last week, outdoing season highs set the week before in a 30-29 win over Bandys.
While the Wolves have made a turn upward –– they’ve won four of their last five games after starting 1-2 –– Newton-Conover (2-6, 1-3) is headed in the opposite direction.
The Red Devils have lost five of six, including three straight. They’re next-to-last in defense at 366.6 yards allowed per game.
LAKE NORMAN at NORTH LINCOLN
The Knights host the Wildcats for homecoming tonight, which will give North Lincoln both of the North Piedmont 3A/4A’s top teams in back-to-back weeks.
Last week the Knights (3-5, 1-3) fell 43-7 to Mooresville, and this week they get a team that sports the league’s best offense and arguably its best player.
Josh Ladowski is Lake Norman’s dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 20 TDs, and has run for 1,350 yards and 21 more scores.
The Wildcats (6-2, 4-0) are averaging 487 yards of offense per game. North Lincoln is last in the league in offense at 254.3 yards per game.