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Mr. Determined

West Lincoln fullback Charles Mack George, shown here against North Lincoln, rushed for 268 yards and five touchdowns, and added a receiving touchdown in a 60-38 win at Cherryville last week.

West Lincoln fullback Charles Mack George, shown here against North Lincoln, rushed for 268 yards and five touchdowns, and added a receiving touchdown in a 60-38 win at Cherryville last week.

George’s work ethic shown in big night against Ironmen

Sports Editor

VALE –– As the clock wound down and halftime looming, Charles Mack George didn’t hear one of his coaches yelling for him to get out of bounds.
Trailing by four at Cherryville, the senior West Lincoln fullback had just received a screen pass from Noah Marsh, and down the field he went. He got away from one tackle, and then another, then dragged an Ironmen defender close to 10 yards as he held onto George’s jersey.
George’s own teammate fell down near his feet, but the 5-foot-10, 218-pound bruiser hurdled the obstacle. Two more defenders and 30 yards stood between George and the end zone. He made one miss, outran the other, and just like that the Rebels led 30-26 and never looked back.
George, who ran for 268 yards and five touchdowns, and scored a sixth TD on the play that essentially sent the Rebels to victory, wouldn’t give up on the play. Nor any of the other 32 touches he had that night.
West Lincoln coach Tom Sain shared a few records George set with his performance last week with the Lincoln Times-News. His 268 yards were the second-best single game rushing output in school history behind Clay Leatherman’s 279 yards against Bessemer City in 1986. His five rushing TDs tied for second-most in a single game with Devyn Travis, who owns the top two marks with six against Bessemer City in 2010, and five against Chase that same year.
George’s six total TDs and Travis’ six TDs are the most a single player has scored in a single game in school history.
The game had county ramifications as well. George’s 268 yards put his single-game performance at seventh on Lincoln County’s all-time list of top individual rushing performances in terms of total yards, according to records shared by the Gaston Gazette.
Oh, and George went 57-0 last winter en route to an individual NCHSAA state 2A wrestling title in the 195-pound weight class.
“He’s such a determined kid,” Sain said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a state championship in wrestling, going 57-0, or rushing for 268 yards, he’s got a determination about him. He’s got something inside him that makes him do well.”
Simply put, when it comes to athletics, George doesn’t know how to fail.
He has, unofficially, 577 total rushing yards this season, which lead the rest of the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference’s rushing field by more than 300 yards.
To put those numbers into perspective, George was used primarily as a blocking back as a junior and had 361 total rushing yards.
He also has a league-leading six rushing TDs this season, and is averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
“I just have fun at what I do,” George said. “I try my best at everything I do, and go as hard as I can.”
George’s performance fits Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan perfectly, because perform is all he does.
“He’s not a big rah-rah player,” Sain said. “He doesn’t run around and say, ‘Let’s go get ’em boys.’ He just does the job.”
George said he didn’t enter last week’s 60-38 win expecting to come 12 yards shy of being the Rebels’ greatest rusher in terms of one game, but said, “I knew I could probably have a big game that game.”
Sain’s hope now is George’s teammates will follow suit.
“Hopefully, it makes other players see that type of work ethic,” Sain said.
The Rebels (2-1), who host Fred T. Foard (1-2) tonight, lost to North Lincoln two weeks ago. In that game they led 7-0, but gave up 20 unanswered points and failed to move the football a single yard in the fourth quarter.
George, one of four team captains, along with Todric Anderson, Bronson Pendleton and Andres Gonzalez, said he called an offensive meeting “about two hours before” Labor Day practice to make sure they got in some extra conditioning because, “We lost it in the fourth quarter,” George said.
The meeting worked. Following George’s 65-yard screen pass TD last week, West Lincoln scored four unanswered TDs on four straight drives to start the second half, and outscored the Ironmen 30-12 in the final 24 minutes.
“We ran hills, ran plays, and we said we weren’t going to lose a game like that in the fourth quarter again,” George said.
“I don’t like to lose. I never like to lose at any sport. I think we can win. I have that mindset I think we can win.”
George’s big offensive night has gotten him recognized outside of Lincoln County. He was listed in the Charlotte Observer’s list of top performers for last week, and will be named WBTV-3s player of the week during its Football Friday Night broadcast tonight, Sain said.
But there is more to West Lincoln’s football team than George, and he’ll be the first to let you know.
“It’s the whole team’s football team; you have to come together as a team to win,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. They don’t just hike the ball to me and let me run. It takes everybody.”

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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