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Reeling from three straight losses in conference play, North Lincoln got its football season back on track a bit on a chilly, windy evening at Lincolnton Memorial Stadium.

Quarterback Kyle Kovalchuk rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two others, and the Knights scored on their first six possessions en route to a 42-12 win over Lincolnton on senior night for the Wolves.

In squaring its overall record at 3-3 (2-3 in the South Fork 2A), North Lincoln doubled up the Wolves in total yards and controlled the game throughout.

Lincolnton (1-4, 1-4) scored its two touchdowns in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter after North Lincoln led 42-0.

Kovalchuk ran an efficient North Lincoln offense that churned out 289 yards rushing and 129 through the air. A quarterback who plays linebacker on defense, Kolvalchuk rushed 17 times for 123 yards and scored on a 1-yard sneak and an 11-yard option keeper.

In addition, the junior signal caller completed seven of nine passes for 129 yards and threw two touchdown strikes to Whitley, each going 12 yards.

The Knights had success running inside on belly plays to the fullback and on option keepers by Kolvalchuk. Furthermore, North Lincoln took advantage of Lincolnton’s inability to defend the “pitch man” on the option, with Daniel Carter romping for 75 yards on 11 attempts.

Lincolnton had a successful strategy to open the game, moving right down the field on its first series with a quick tempo and short passes to four different receivers.

However, the promising drive stalled near the North Lincoln 25 thanks to an ill-timed penalty and a couple of incomplete passes from Connor Williams, who was 4-for-4 for 37 yards before the offense ground to a halt.

After that defensive stop, the North offense took over and moved 65-yards in 12 plays for the game’s first score.

When the Knights got the ball again, they went on a 98-yard, 18-play drive which Kolvalchuk capped with a one-yard sneak to make the score 15-0 midway through the second quarter.

The third touchdown of the first half came on a perfectly executed play. Receiver Tyler Rathbone took a pitch on a reverse and ran 12 yards untouched around the right side with just 31 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Knights added to their lead on Kolvalchuk’s second hook-up with Whitley and on a six-yard run by Daniel Carter on a trap play.

The Wolves got on the board late on runs of nine and six yards by Amontre Finger, who ended his final home game on a positive note. Finger picked up 96 yards rushing on 16 carries.

North Lincoln’s defense, which limited the Wolves to 203 yards, was led by defensive back Jack Carter, who intercepted two Lincolnton passes.The regular season comes to an end this week with the Wolves traveling to Maiden and North Lincoln hosting Bandys.

North Lincoln   8 13 14 7 - 42

Lincolnton        0  0  0 12 - 12

(Published April 5, 2021)

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