LINCOLNTON — The Lincolnton Wolves were in dire need of a win in Friday’s homecoming and Southern Piedmont Conference game against the Highland Tech Rams.
They got one, and then some, with a 59-0 rout of the Rams in which four different Lincolnton players scored touchdowns and the Wolves defense held the Rams to just 61 yards of offense.
“It was a good homecoming,” Lincolnton head coach Scott Cloninger said. “Everyone got to play a good bit. That’s being a part of a team. It’s great for a young person.”
Lincolnton snapped a four-game skid with the win, and acquired some much needed momentum headed into this week’s game at East Lincoln.
“It’s the best medicine we could have,” Cloninger said. “They haven’t quit, they haven’t complained, they haven’t argued and fussed. They’ve showed up to practice every day and worked hard and I’m happy and proud for them.”
Sophomore running back Quinlan Harris had a breakout night for Lincolnton, scoring four of the team’s touchdowns — three on rushes and one on a 50-yard punt return. Harris’s first carry was for 8 yards on Lincolnton’s second play from scrimmage. Each time he touched the ball after that, the result was a touchdown. Harris put the Wolves ahead 10-0 with his punt return touchdown nine minutes into the first quarter, scampered 82 yards for a score four minutes before halftime, bowled over Highland Tech defenders for a 43-yard score with 1:24 left before the half and took a left-side pitch from freshman quarterback Jordon Easter 12 yards for his final touchdown less than three minutes into the third quarter.
“Quinlan had a big night,” Cloninger said. “We feel like we got quicker with Harris and (running back) Chavis Russell and (fullback) Justice Whitesides. I was very impressed with Harris, he had a great night. We’ve been missing those big plays that we’ve been able to have for years and years and he was able to give them to us.”
Senior kicker Braden Willis put the Wolves on the scoreboard with a 27-yard field goal at the end of Lincolnton’s first drive. The Wolves moved the ball 55 yards down to the Highland Tech 10-yard line on the drive, but holding and block-in-the-back penalties against the Wolves forced the field goal attempt. Willis was 8-8 on extra points in the game.
Junior running back Justice Charles scored the first of his two touchdowns six minutes before halftime on a drive that began with senior Lincolnton defensive lineman Michael Moore recovering a fumble by Highland Tech quarterback Nevan Sussman.
Charles carried the ball three times on the four-play drive, and took the ball up the middle of the field for a 7-yard touchdown and a 16-0 Lincolnton lead. Charles added his second touchdown on a 5-yard run with two minutes remaining in the third quarter after another Highland Tech fumble that set the Wolves up on the Rams’ 16-yard line.
Freshman running back Willie Cobb scored Lincolnton’s final touchdown with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard carry.