EL vs Statesville

The Mustangs faced a stingy Statesville defense at David Clark Stadium on Friday night.  East Lincoln fell to the Greyhounds 23-6, dropping them to 0-2 in the Western Foothills 3A Conference.

Lincolnton overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to defeat the Red Devils 21-17 at Newton-Conover on Friday for their first win of the season.

Khamoni Heath’s 11-yard touchdown run with 1:12 to play in the game gave the Wolves their first and only lead of the night, and Lincolnton held off the Red Devils on the final drive to get in the win column.

Newton-Conover got on the scoreboard early when Zand Redmond intercepted a Lincolnton pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown just 43 seconds into the contest. A Dax Shannon extra-point kick made it 7-0.

Shannon made it 10-0 midway through the second period with a 28-yard field goal, before the Wolves got on the board with a 20-yard scoring pass from Andre Bost to Deandre Smith at the 4:58 mark.

But the Red Devils stretched the lead back to ten with an 18-yard touchdown run from Aiden Luangkhot just before the end of the half.

The Wolves, however, played much better after the break, overcoming four first-half turnovers.

Bernard Wingate’s 2-yard touchdown run with 3:17 to play in the third period coupled with Peyton Rangel’s second extra-point kick pulled Lincolnton to within 3 at 17-14.

And the Wolves defense, which has played well all season, held Newton-Conover scoreless in the second half leaving the door open for Heath’s game-winning TD run with just over a minute to play.

Bost led a balanced Lincolnton offense, throwing for 63 yards and a touchdown and running for another 58 yards on nine carries. Wingate finished with 65 yards on twelve carries and a score, and Smith completed a pass for 41 yards and had a touchdown reception from 20 yards out.

Anthony Odom gave the Wolves a spark with 3 receptions for 84 yards. Odom also picked off a pass on the defensive side.

Caden Smith had 12 tackles and Wingate 11 to lead the Lincolnton defense.

The win was also the first for first-year head coach David Byrd. The Lincolnton alum is now 1-4 in his first season at the helm.

The Wolves will play host to Bandys on Friday, while the Red Devils are at East Burke.


Knights bounce back, knock off


North Lincoln bounced back from last week’s low-scoring loss to Statesville with a big 21-6 Western Foothills 3A Conference win over the Red Tornadoes in Pumpkin Center.

The Knights put up 15 first-quarter points to take control of the contest, and led 21-6 at the halftime break.

The victory improved North Lincoln’s record to 3-2 on the season, and more importantly gets the Knights to 1-1 in league play heading into next week’s matchup at North Iredell.

Hickory fell to 2-3 overall, and 1-1 in the Western Foothills 3A Conference. The Red Tornadoes will play at St. Stephens on Friday.


Rebels come up just short against


VALE—It is not even October and the conference races are still young, yet Friday night’s Maiden-West Lincoln game had all the trappings of the game of the year in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic Conference.

And the contest at Douglas C. Leonhardt Stadium on a perfect fall night lived up to billing.

In a clash of unbeaten teams, Maiden (4-0, 1-0) put together the game-winning drive late and scored with 8.2 seconds left to edge the Rebels 20-14.

The Blue Devils, who were playing their conference opener after a COVID-19 related postponement last week, proved their championship mettle on the game’s final series.

Quarterback Ethan Rhodes scored on a 3-yard run to cap a 13-play, 59-yard drive in which Maiden nearly ran out of timeouts and had to scramble to get off the winning play.

It was the first game in a three-game gauntlet over eight days for Maiden, which plays at East Burke Tuesday in a makeup game and hosts West Caldwell next Saturday.

West Lincoln, which lost its third heartbreaker in a row to Maiden, falls to 1-1 in the conference and 4-1 overall. The Rebels visit Bunker Hill this week.

Three series in the fourth quarter defined the game.

With the score tied 14-14, the Rebels drove from their own 17 to the Maiden 6-yard line where they had first-and-goal. It appeared at that point that West Lincoln would push in for the go-ahead touchdown against a Maiden defense that spent much of the second half on the field.

However, West Lincoln could gain only five yards on three rushes into the heart of the Maiden interior line. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Mason Avery was stopped for no gain and the Rebels lost possession on downs.

On the next two series, the teams traded turnovers. The Blue Devils fumbled at their own 45 to set up West Lincoln in excellent field position. But after driving inside the Maiden 30, the Rebels returned the favor on an option pitch that went awry, and Maiden recovered the loose ball.

This time, Maiden capitalized on the final momentum shift in the game.

The Rebels followed their game plan well, piling up 263 yards rushing on 58 attempts and limiting chances for Maiden’s explosive offense. Trace Gilmore rushed for 114 yards on 18 carries, and Mason Avery ground out 112 yards on 31 attempts.

But the Blue Devils still managed to produce two big plays that went for touchdowns. Wide receiver Chris Cullver ran 39 yards on a reverse for a first quarter score less than two minutes into the game. In the third quarter, Culliver turned a medium-length pass from Rhodes into a 63-yard touchdown jaunt to put Maiden up 14-7.

West Lincoln’s touchdowns came on a 12-yard run by Charles Winnex in the second quarter and an 11-yard pass from Jordan Truesdale to Avery in the third.

The Rebels had only two penalties for 20 yards compared to 101 yards assessed against Maiden, but West Lincoln’s lone turnover proved decisive to the outcome.


Mustangs fall to Statesville

A swarming Greyhound defense and a solid ground attack were more than the Mustangs could handle Friday evening and East Lincoln fell to Statesville 23-6 on Homecoming night at David Clark Stadium in Denver.

The loss was the Mustangs (3-2, 0-2) second straight to open Western Foothills 3A Conference play following a 3-0 start in non-conference play, while the Greyhounds (4-0, 2-0) remained undefeated.

After forcing a couple East Lincoln punts, Statesville got on the board midway through the first period when quarterback Zamari Stevenson found Jaylen Himes in the end zone from 10-yards out. Sam Buckner’s point after kick made it a 7-0 Greyhound lead.

Stevenson’s 30-yard scoring run early in the second quarter, coupled with another extra-point boot from Buckner made it a 14-0 Statesville advantage and there was no looking back.

A bad snap that sailed over the East Lincoln punter’s head and went through the back of the end zone resulted in a safety, and the Greyhounds took a comfortable 16-0 lead into the halftime break.

The second half was much like the first.

The Mustangs were playing without starting quarterback Tyler Mizzell due to a broken arm, and without backup QB Jeremiah Jones, who will miss multiple weeks with an injury.

Freshman Hunter Bolling was forced into action for the second straight week.

Bolling did lead his team on a scoring drive early in the fourth period, capping it off with a 16-yard touchdown toss to Markell Clark. The two-point conversion pass failed, and East Lincoln trailed 16-6 with just over 11 minutes to play.

The Greyhounds put an exclamation mark on the victory however late in the game with a 2-yard scoring run by Quantay Brown that kept Statesville at the top of the league standings after two weeks.

Stevenson’s 79 yards and a touchdown on eight carries led a balanced Greyhound running game. Brown added 68 yards on eight carries and a score for Statesville, who finished the night with 34 carries for 186 yards.

Stevenson, a senior quarterback, connected on seven of 13 pass attempts for 66 yards and a score. East Lincoln did pick off a pair of his passes.

The Mustangs were led by Tyjai Johnson’s 66 yards on fourteen carries, and Orlandis Howell-Johnson’s 42 yards on 16 carries.

Bolling completed 11 of his 18 pass attempts for just 46 yards and a pick.

Junior defensive back Titus Meyers’ interception with 3:14 to play all but sealed the win for the Greyhounds.

Statesville outgained the Mustangs in total yards 252 to 169.

The Greyhounds will play host to winless Fred T. Foard next Friday, while East Lincoln travels to West Iredell.

(Published September 27, 2021)

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