A theme is emerging for the Lincolnton football team when it comes to the second half of games.
For the second week in a row, the Wolves have rebounded from erratic first half play and halftime deficits to secure a win.
Friday night at Lincolnton’s Memorial Stadium, Lincolnton trailed 7-0 at intermission and managed only one first down in the first two quarters, and that came on a penalty early in the game.
The second half, however, was a complete reversal of form. The Wolves (2-4, 2-1) put up 21 points in the third quarter alone and finished with a flurry of 27 unanswered to defeat Bandys 27-7 in a Catawba Valley 2A Conference outing.
It was second win in a row for Lincolnton, which seems to be improving week by week after starting the season 0-4.
In addition, the Wolves followed the pattern of the Newton-Conover game a week earlier. They trailed 17-7 at the half at Newton before rallying for a 21-17 triumph.
“I hope we are getting more confident,” Lincolnton coach David Byrd said. “The kids are learning how to win, and they are working hard. I am happy about that.”
It seemed questionable whether the Wolves could get going offensively after Bandys (2-2, 0-2) dominated the first half on both sides of the football.
Lincolnton’s six first half possessions ended like this: punt, loss of downs, punt, punt, punt, and a fumbled kickoff from Bandys. Only the solid play of the Wolves’ defensive unit kept the halftime deficit from being greater.
However, one big play and an injury to the Bandys quarterback changed the game’s complexion.
The big play, one of two pulled off by the Wolves, came on the team’s first series of the third quarter. Running back Deandra Smith ran to the right side on a toss sweep, saw the play bottled up by Bandys, but then he reversed field by cutting to his left.
At that point, it was a matter of outrunning the pursuit on his way to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown play. Peyton Rangel’s extra point kick tied the score at 7, launching a 21-0 third quarter for the Wolves.
The injury came on the Bandys offensive possession after Lincolnton’s score. Quarterback Parker DeHart, who threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Elliott Spicer to give the Trojans their halftime lead, went to the sideline with an injury at the 8:42 mark of the period.
Although DeHart eventually returned to the game, his absence further limited a Bandys offense that struggled to mount a drive in the second half against the fired-up Lincolnton defensive charge.
While the run by Smith changed the momentum in favor of the Wolves, another big play midway through the third quarter put Lincolnton in control.
Quarterback Andre Bost found Anthony Odum running down the right sideline and hit him on the run after the Bandys defender fell while trying for an interception. Odum romped to the end zone for a 69-yard completion.
The Wolves added two more scores on runs of 5 yards and 29 yards by Bernard Wingate to produce the final margin.
In the second half, Bandys punted five times and turned the ball over on downs once.
Junior linebacker Easton Dellinger led the LHS defense with 13 tackles, including five for losses. Other leaders were Wingate (11 tackles, five for a loss), Keondre Smith (10 tackles, one for a loss), Caden Smith (seven tackles), Khamoni Heath (eight tackles), Teaghan Strutt (five tackles, two sacks), and Odum (interception).
This week, Lincolnton will try to make it three wins in a row at West Caldwell. Bandys travels to Maiden.
Knights roll over North Iredell
Tanner Boggs - firstname.lastname@example.org
OLIN—North Lincoln used its ground attack and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball on the way to a 50-0 victory over North Iredell on Friday.
On homecoming night in Olin, the Knights took the crowd out of the game early on and never looked back.
North Lincoln opened up the scoring on a one-yard run by quarterback Kyle Kovalchuk roughly seven minutes into the game after the two teams traded punts. The Knights went on to score again just two minutes later on a Kovalchuk 32-yard bomb to Tyler Donahue.
Kovalchuk found the end zone again a little over a minute into the second quarter.
Leading 16-0 and facing 4th and 13 from the North Iredell 35, Kovalchuk hooked up with Timmy Schafer for a 35-yard score and a huge momentum boost.
North Lincoln found the end zone two more times in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Brennen Rogers and another score by Kovalchuk, this time a 47-yard run with 55 seconds left in the half.
Kovalchuk ended the night with four scores and was replaced to start the second half, as he watched his team coast in the second half to the win.
North Lincoln scored twice in the second half, the first a 2-yard run by Donahue and the second a fumble recovered in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.
The Knights’ defense held the Raiders to 108 total yards on the night. North Lincoln won its second conference game in a row after beating Hickory last week and moved into a tie with North Iredell and Hickory for second in the conference at 2-1.
After North Iredell’s two-game winning streak was snapped Friday night, the Raiders will look to start a new one next week as they travel to Hickory in another vital conference game. North Lincoln returns home to face St Stephens.
Mustangs blank West Iredell
David Parsons - email@example.com
Giving up nearly 200 pounds to the offensive and defensive lines and a wealth of varsity experience was more than the West Iredell Warriors could overcome Friday night in their conference battle with the Mustangs of East Lincoln as they fell 45-0 in Statesville.
The Mustangs exploded in the first quarter with 38 unanswered points.
On its first drive, East Lincoln raced to an early lead as Olandis Howell-Johnson capped off a 9-play, 80 yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. The Mustangs ran in the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
The battle in the trenches was the theme of the night as the Mustang offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game.
On the ensuing drive, KeAndre Walker picked off an under duress Warrior pass and returned it 11 yards for the defensive touchdown then adding the two point conversion to put the Mustangs ahead 16-0.
After Warrior, Jermaine Cornelius was able to pick off an errant Mustang pass, the Warriors had their best field possession of the night starting a drive at the Mustang 22 yard line. But a pair of big defensive blitzes pushed the Warriors back to punt and out of the scoring opportunity.
The Mustangs once again were quick to capitalize on their next possession as quarterback Hunter Bolling found Landon Glezen down the sideline for a 30 yard pass and catch for a third touchdown in less than five minutes of gameplay.
After another Warrior three and out, the Mustang line forced a Warrior special teams miscue and set their offense up for a first down inside the Warrior 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Howell-Johnson carried the ball off left tackle to extend the lead to 31-0 for the Mustangs before another Bolling touchdown pass to Walker extended the Mustang advantage to 38-0.
The Mustangs rounded out their scoring with a Braylin Smith 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter
Warrior coach, Shannon Ashley chalked the game to a learning experience for his team.
“We saw a physical team like we need to become moving forward and if we continue to work hard as program with every practice and game we can accomplish that,” he said.
The Mustangs will play host to Fred T. Foard on Friday, while West Iredell will travel to cross town rival Statesville High School. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
Rebels lose at Bunker Hill
West Lincoln dropped their second straight Catawba Valley 2A Conference game on Friday, this time to the Bunker Hill Bears by a score of 15-7 in Claremont.
The two defenses dominated the first half of action, with the only score coming as time expired on an Alan Bahena Soto 30-yard field goal giving Bunker Hill a 3-0 lead at the intermission.
The Rebels got on the board late in the third period when quarterback Jordan Truesdale hooked up with Trent Goins from 25 yards out. Trista Primmer added the point after, and West Lincoln enjoyed their first lead of the night, 7-3 at the 3:42 mark.
But that lead was short-lived.
Just 19 seconds later the Bears regained the lead when running back Chadz Stevenson scored on a 48-yard burst, and Bunker Hill moved back in front for good.
Following another solid drive by the Rebels that stalled inside the Bears 10-yard line, Bunker Hill went on a six-plus minute drive that ended with a 6-yard scoring run from Redek Robinson that extended the Bears lead to eight.
A failed extra-point attempt by Bunker Hill kept West Lincoln within one possession. After the Rebels picked up a few first downs, including a couple key fourth-down conversions, the Bears’ Preston Workman intercepted a West Lincoln pass to seal the victory for Bunker Hill with just 18 seconds remaining.
The Bears, who improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the CVAC, ran for 253 yards on 39 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Stevenson led Bunker Hill with 13 carries for 88 yards and a score.
Playing without starting quarterback Carson Elder who was unavailable for the game, the Bears totalled just 41 yards through the air, connecting on just five of 14 attempts with a pair of interceptions.
Mason Avery led the Rebel offense with 122 yards on the ground on 22 carries. West Lincoln was held to 162 yards on the ground on 36 carries.
The Rebels (4-2, 1-2) will travel to Newton-Conover this Friday, while Bunker Hill will play at East Burke.
(Published October 4, 2021)