The North Lincoln Knights overcame a slow start on Friday to take down the St. Stephens Indians by a score of 26-0 and remain in a second-place tie in the Western Foothills 3A Conference.
The shutout victory was the second straight for North Lincoln, who has allowed just 20 points through their first four league contests.
While both offenses struggled throughout most of the first half, the Knights broke through at the midway point of the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by junior running back Brennen Rogers to take a 6-0 lead.
North Lincoln’s defense, who was dominant all night long, kept the Indians offense in check and made sure the Knights headed to the locker room at the break with the six-point advantage.
And though it did take a while, the North Lincoln offense did pick up the pace in the second half.
Rogers’ second 3-yard scoring run at the 8-minute mark of the third period extended the Knights’ lead to 12-0, and quarterback Kyle Kovalchuk’s three-yard touchdown run early in the fourth period, coupled with Liam Sutton’s extra-point kick, gave North Lincoln some breathing room at 19-0.
Tyler Donahue’s 2-yard touchdown run with just 7:28 to play in the game closed the door on any hopes that St. Stephens had of a comeback.
The Knights piled up 294 yards on the ground on 40 carries, mostly in the second half.
Rogers led the way with 20 carries for 130 yards and three scores, while Kovalchuk added 74 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
But the North Lincoln defense may have been the story. The Knights allowed just 79 total yards of offense to the Indians, including just two rushing yards on 25 carries.
St. Stephens leading running back Brycen Gaither was held to 24 yards on 13 carries, and the North Lincoln defensive unit recorded eleven tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Peyton Young, the Indians quarterback, completed just nine of his 21 pass attempts for a modest 54 yards. Young was picked off twice. One interception was by Luke Fitzsimmons and the other came from Donahue.
With the win, the Knights improved to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Western Foothills 3A Conference. The win was North Lincoln’s third straight, and their fifth in their last six games.
St. Stephens fell to 1-3 in conference play and 1-5 overall, and will play at East Lincoln on Friday. North Lincoln will be at Fred T. Foard.
Notes: The win for head coach Nick Bazzle was his 31st since taking over the Knights’ football program, making him the winningest football coach in school history.
Mustangs put up 44 first-half
points in win
The East Lincoln Mustangs exploded for 44 first-half points Friday night on their way to a dominating 57-0 win over Fred T. Foard in Denver.
The win was the second straight for East Lincoln. After dropping their first two Western Foothills 3A Conference games to Hickory and Statesville, the Mustangs have bounced back to outscore their last two opponents 102-0.
East Lincoln ran for 218 yards and three scores against the Tigers on Friday, while picking up another 124 yards through the air, including a pair of touchdowns.
Orlandis Howell-Johnson ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on just four carries to lead the Mustangs ground attack. Tyjai Johnson added 56 yards and a score on nine carries, and freshman Chris Daley went for 60 yards and a score on just two carries.
Hunter Bolling completed 2 of five pass attempts for 75 yards and a touchdown for East Lincoln.
Junior quarterback Tyler Mizzell returned to the playing field after missing four weeks with an injury. Mizzell completed 3 of his four passes for 49 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown toss to Devean Huskey.
Huskey had two catches for 75 yards, both for touchdowns.
The Mustangs (5-2, 2-2) will be at home this week to take on St. Stephens. Foard (0-6, 0-4) will play host to North Lincoln.
Wolves win third straight
Following an 0-4 start to the 2021 fall high school football season, the Lincolnton Wolves won their third-straight game on Friday evening with a 27-7 victory at West Caldwell.
It was also the third time in as many weeks that Lincolnton trailed at the half, then shut out their opponent after the break and pulled out a victory.
The Wolves, who trailed 7-6 at the half on Friday, outscored the Warriors 21-0 in the final two quarters to improve to 3-4 overall, and more importantly 3-1 in Catawba Valley 2A Conference play.
Lincolnton got a pair of one-yard touchdown runs from senior Bernard Wingate to lead the way. Wingate had 44 yards on the ground on nine carries for the Wolves, while sophomore quarterback Andre Bost carried the ball 12 times for 79 yards and a score.
Senior Deandre Smith continued to make big plays for Lincolnton, scoring on a 58-yard run while totalling 75 yards on his six carries.
The Wolves ran for 195 yards on the night.
Khamoni Heath led the Lincolnton defense on Friday with 10 tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks.
The Wolves will host East Burke this Friday night for Homecoming, while West Caldwell (0-6, 0-4) will travel to West Lincoln.
Rebels pull out overtime win
Mark Parker - Hickory Daily Record
NEWTON — The glitter and shine of homecoming night at Newton-Conover was bookended by the muck and mire of a defensive struggle during Friday night’s Catawba Valley 2A Conference football game against West Lincoln.
The visiting Rebels broke a scoring dearth when Mason Avery scored a touchdown in the first overtime for a 13-7 win on a soggy, rainy night.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for West Lincoln (5-2, 2-2 Catawba Valley 2A) and provided the Rebels their second road overtime win of the season. Avery also scored the winner at Bandys three weeks ago.
Friday’s game also continued a theme of tight games this season for West Lincoln, as six of its seven games have come down to one possession. The win was also the first for the Rebels at Gurley Stadium since 2013, and it snapped a stretch of six seasons during which the teams have alternated wins.
Newton-Conover (2-4, 2-2) had hoped to win its second in a row after sneaking away from East Burke last week with a victory on a “Hail Mary” play. Instead, the Red Devils suffered their third loss in as many games at home by a combined margin of 13 points.
Friday night’s game will be remembered more for the defensive dominance, along with the occasional offensive ineptitude. The Red Devils’ defensive front dominated the line of scrimmage, holding West Lincoln, which entered the game averaging 260 yards per game rushing, to just 73 yards on 43 carries.
The Red Devils especially keyed on stopping Avery, who came in averaging 151 yards per game on the ground. On Friday, the junior running back earned 58 yards on 23 tough carries, and his winning touchdown run of 9 yards was tied for the Rebels’ longest run of the night.
Meanwhile, the Rebels held Newton-Conover to 23 yards rushing on 20 carries. In the second half, the Red Devils punted five of the seven times they had the ball and accumulated 23 yards of total offense on 23 plays.
Zane Redmond of Newton-Conover had the longest run of the game for either side when he reversed field on an end around while deep in his own backfield, shifted twice more, then picked up an escort of blockers to turn a 10-yard loss into a 12-yard run. It was the only carry of the game to gain double-digit yards.
The two scores in regulation came 56 seconds apart in the first quarter. A bad snap in punt formation set up West Lincoln at the Red Devils’ 14-yard line. Newton-Conover stuffed the first two running plays before Jordan Truesdale used a play-action fake to roll left and find Zach Daigler for a 15-yard TD pass. Trista Primmer’s kick made it 7-0 with 1:56 left in the quarter.
Newton-Conover answered on the second play of the ensuing drive when Aiden Luangkhot found Redmond among a draped defender along the left sideline for a 61-yard scoring play. Dax Shannon’s kick tied the game with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
As strong as the defenses played, both teams hindered their own chances to create a lead. An ill-advised keeper on a punt in the second quarter put West Lincoln at the Red Devils’ 28. However, West Lincoln picked up just 4 yards over four plays to give the ball back. Newton-Conover’s ensuing drive got to the Rebels’ 22, but a holding penalty nullified a first down and an interception followed that snuffed out the scoring opportunity.
The Red Devils smelled out and stopped a fake punt at their 46 late in the third quarter, but ran just four plays and punted.
Demarcus Beatty’s fumble in the fourth quarter put the Rebels in business at the Newton-Conover 36 with 9:03 left, but a false start and a sack ended West Lincoln’s hopes for a score.
With 5:33 left, Trent Goins intercepted a Luangkhot pass near midfield and returned the ball to the Red Devils’ 17. West Lincoln eventually worked into first-and-goal at the 6, but another false start penalty plus two losses on running plays set up a 32-yard field goal try by Primmer. Her kick with two minutes to go was on target, but short.
The Red Devils’ two-minute drill got to their 47 in the final minute, but no further.
In In overtime, Newton-Conover got just 3 yards over four plays, with Luagkhot’s pass to the back of the end zone on fourth down getting tipped away.
Avery’s game-winner came on the second play for the Rebels, as he ran through a gap over right tackle to cap the contest.
West Lincoln returns home next Friday to play West Caldwell.
(Published October 11, 2021)