How do you slow down a running back that has gained 1,500 yards in his last four games and 2,800 yards for the season? And throw in 28 touchdowns scored as well.
That is the formidable challenge for the East Lincoln defense Friday night as the Mustangs meet Thomasville in the third round of the 2A playoffs at David C. Clark Stadium, Denver.
The running back in question is Bulldogs senior tailback Gabe Brockett, who torched Lincolnton for 342 yards and four TDs last week in the second round.
The East Lincoln-Thomasville matchup is one of the most intriguing quarterfinal games in the area, pitting a run-first, run-second and run-third offense against a team that thinks pass on first down and spreads the ball around to six or seven receivers.
Which philosophy will claim supremacy? Let’s look into the crystal ball.
Thomasville at East Lincoln: A defensive struggle this will not be. Nobody has come close to slowing down the rampaging Brockett, let alone stopping him. On the other hand, East Lincoln’s spread offense, featuring QB Garrett Young throwing to a bevy of receivers, has been an unstoppable force in its own right. I think the Mustang defense will make just enough plays to give East the edge in an instant classic … East Lincoln 42-35.
Shelby at Madison County (2A): Long trip deep into the N.C. mountains will be worth it for the Golden Lions … Shelby 28-14.
Bandys at South Iredell (2AA): Conference rivals (CVAC) know each other well, so give the edge to South Iredell at home … South Iredell 35-22.
Statesville at South Point (3AA): The Greyhounds boast several Division I prospects on the roster, but they have not faced anything like South Iredell’s vaunted redbone attack … South Point 35-27.
Freedom at Burns (3A): Another third-round meeting of conference foes. The Burns defense has been stifling in the postseason … Burns 21-7.
Florida State at Maryland: ‘Noles biding time until the ACC title game in Charlotte … Florida State 35-13.
Virginia Tech at Boston College: Another in a series of Who Care’s ACC games of the week … VaTech 24-10.
USF at Miami, Fla: Miami is having a so-so season, and NCAA sanctions loom … Miami 21-14.
Duke at Georgia Tech: It would be a great story if Duke could win the Coastal Division and go to the ACC title game; however, the Yellow Jackets are 5-5 after a 2-4 start. And they put up 68 points on North Carolina a week ago … Georgia Tech 49-21.
N.C. State at Clemson: Tigers must be on upset alert … Clemson 27-21.
Wake Forest at Notre Dame: No chance of the Deacons pulling a shocker in the shadow of the Golden Dome … Notre Dame 30-13.
Western Carolina at Alabama: Catamounts earn a huge pay day the hard way … Alabama 56-0.
Wofford at South Carolina: Same as above, although not quite as one-sided … South Carolina 42-7.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt: Not even a win over an in-state opponent will save Vols coach Derek Dooley’s job at this point … Vandy 35-32.
Kansas State at Baylor: Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein and company shred terrible Baylor defense … K-State 49-20.
Oklahoma at West Virginia: The Big 12 game that everyone was buzzing about in preseason has lost most of its luster. Sooners are 7-2, West Virginia 5-4 with four straight losses … Oklahoma 35-28.
Stanford at Oregon: Ducks are No. 2 in the BCS and No. 1 in scoring offense. Stanford could make things interesting , however … Oregon 41-27.
Last week: 13-6. Season’s record: 164-49.