In one of the wilder games of the weekend, North Lincoln saw its playoff hopes diminish greatly in a 40-21 loss to the Maiden Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon in a contest played at Maiden Middle School.
The game had more than 20 penalties combined for well over 200 yards, and a total of seven turnovers between the Knights and the Blue Devils.
With the two teams tied at 14 all after trading scores back-and-forth throughout the first two quarters, all the momentum seemed to swing in Maiden’s favor on one single play.
Just before the half, Blue Devil quarterback Ethan Rhodes found Chris Culliver racing down the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown pass, and from that point on, the Blue Devils were in control of the game.
In fact, Maiden (3-0, 3-0) would score the first three touchdowns after the break, to take a commanding 40-14 advantage with 3:11 still to play in the third period.
Rhodes hooked up with wideout Brennan James on two of those three second-half scores, from 11 and 19 yards out to help the Blue Devils build an insurmountable lead.
Rhodes, a junior, threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Maiden offense. The Blue Devils had two receivers to eclipse the 100-yard mark. Senior Brennan James hauled in 8 receptions for 139 yards and three scores, and Culliver finished the day with 130 yards on five catches, including the 80-yard touchdown that swung the game.
Amarion Craig ran for 117 yards and two scores to lead the Maiden ground game.
For the Knights (2-2, 1-2), four turnovers was just too much to overcome.
Sophomore running back Brennan Rogers had 106 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for North Lincoln, and Seth Whitley caught three passes for 50 yards.
In addition to Rogers scoring run, the Knights also got touchdown runs from Cooper Wray from 13 yards out, and a 3-yarder from Daniel Carter.
Maiden outgained North Lincoln in total yards 480 to 233.
The win for the Blue Devils puts them in great position for one of the South Fork 2A Conference’s two playoff berths. The Knights, however, must win out and also receive a lot of help.
UP NEXT: North Lincoln will host Newton-Conover this Friday. Maiden will travel to East Lincoln for a game that should determine the conference champion. (Published March 22, 2021)