Ethan Martin, who caught a touchdown pass in the Pisgah game last week, was named the final First Federal Savings Bank Lincoln County Player of the Week for his performance November 5th when the Mustangs made it to the playoffs by beating Newton-Conover in their final regular season game. He is pictured here with Demery Brewer of First Federal (left) and Coach Dave Lubowicz (right). The weekly award was presented by Tim Johnson and Ken Link of WLON Radio who broadast the play-by-play of the Lincoln County Schools games.
(Photo Courtesy Tim Johnson)
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
East Lincoln gets a rematch with North Lincoln this Friday night in the second round of the NCHSAA 2AA Football Playoffs. North won its game over Smoky Mountain in a cake walk last week, 42-6. East Lincoln pulled off the upset of the night: the 16th seeded Mustangs upset the Pisgah Bears, the #1 seed in the west region, 13-10 to advance.
East Lincoln played well, especially on defense, but it was a coaching mistake that set up the Mustangs winning score. Pisgah, leading 10-7 with a minute 17 seconds left in the game, faced a 4th & 1 at their own 31-yard line. They called a timeout and went for it--they didn't make it.
East Lincoln took over at the Pisgah 31-yard line with a minute 10 seconds left to try to pull out a win. The Mustangs got five yards on first down, then Pisgah called its final timeout. An incomplete pass on second down was followed by Justin Barnett's second touchdown toss of the night, this one to Paulie Menegay. It came with just 27 seconds left in the game. [The first, in the second quarter, tied the score at 7-all before Pisgah kicked a field goal for a 10-7 halftime edge. That second quarter TD pass was caught by Ethan Martin.]
The Bears still had a chance to tie or win--but East kicked off with a squib kick to avoid a possible long return. Pisgah had the ball on their own 37-yard line with just 23 seconds left and no timeouts. They made it to midfield, but time ran out--and the Mustangs celebrated their advancement to a rematch with North this Friday.
Prior to the short winning drive, things had looked dire for East when Pisgah drove to the Mustangs' 20-yard line. Trevor Filo intercepted a pass in the end zone to end that drive, then the Mustangs drove to the Bears' 27-yard line but failed to make a first down on a 4th and 1 play. That's when Pisgah got the ball and also failed to make a first down on fourth down giving East one more chance--the one they needed.
North Lincoln's win over Smoky Mountain wasn't nearly as exciting. The Knights took advantage of bad passes and other problems to roll up a 21-0 first quarter lead that became a 35-0 advantage before Smoky Mountain ever scored. They added a third quarter touchdown to a 35-6 halftime advantage in a romp led by outstanding quarterback play by Landon Beard, a 101-yard rushing performance by Jake Soorus, and a defensive effort that forced six turnovers including four passes intercepted by Jacob Cline.
When North beat East 24-16 October 5th at David Clark Stadium, the Mustangs were a different team. Injuries had depleted their defense, and they had a different quarterback. Barnett became the starter late in the season.
That game started with a fumble on East Lincoln's second possession that gave North the ball at the Mustangs' 11-yard line. Clayton Cribb's three-yard run and Ian Fiore's EP kick made it 7-0.
Early in the second quarter, a long pass by Beard to Sam Brady set up a one-yard TD run by Beard that after Fiore's kick made it 14-0. A three-yard run by Daniel Carter followed by another Fiore EP kick made the halftime score 21-0.
The Mustangs made it to the red zone before halftime, but Seth Moody intercepted a pass to stop that drive.
East finally scored on a 52-yard TD pass caught by Tavin Johnson and Ryan Shanklin's EP kick cut the lead to 21-7.
East recovered a fumble at the North 23-yard line, but a sack by Soorus forced the Mustangs to settle for a Shanklin 41-yard field goal, making the score 21-10.
A long pass reception by Johnson got the Mustangs to the North 25, but they turned the ball over on downs and the third quarter ended with North still holding an 11-point advantage.
A long pass by Beard to Seth Moody set up a 27-yard Fiore field goal and North led 24-10.
Mikivi Phinx caught a long pass to set up a one-yard run by Cole Barber to cut the lead to 24-16 (the EP try was no good) with two minutes left in the game.
North drove to the East Lincoln 25 where Langdon McCall recovered a fumble, giving his team a chance to tie the game with a TD and two-point conversion--but there was only a minute left and time ran out--there was no miracle in that game like the one that gave East the win over Pisgah last week.
The winner of this week's East Lincoln at North Lincoln game will take on the winner of this week's Ashe County at Shelby game in the third round next Friday. Whichever Lincoln County team wins will have to play on the road next week.
Other area teams in action this Friday include undefeated Thomas Jefferson Academy. The Gryphons got a first round bye. They host Bishop McGuiness from Kernersville this Friday. Bessemer City plays at East Surry in a 1AA game.
Kings Mountain, which won a rout over West Rowan last week, will travel to Statesville this Friday.
Hunter Huss beat Crest 14-0 on October 12th--one of the unbeaten Huskies 12 wins. They'll play a rematch this week. Like the first meeting, it will also be in Gastonia.
The South Point Red Raiders had no real trouble with Mt. Pleasant last Friday. They play on the road again this week--this time at unbeaten Hibriten, the defending 3A champ.
Franklin gave Bandys a much closer game than many expected. They trailed by only a touchdown in the fourth quarter until an interception and long return by Chase Clanton set up Ethan Howard's third touchdown run of the night making the final score 28-14. The Trojans made far too many mistakes--they were penalized 155 yards in the game. Howard eclipsed the former career record for rushing at Bandys surpassing what Chris Spade had done over a decade ago. This week, the Trojans will host another 11-1 team, South Stokes. The Wildcats beat Fred T. Foard last Friday, building up a big lead before Foard made a comeback that fell short.
On the radio & online
WLON Radio (1050AM, 107.5FM) will broadcast the East Lincoln @ North Lincoln game.
WCLS Radio (1590AM, 92.3FM) will broadcast the Ashe County @ Shelby game.
WOHS (1390AM, 101.5FM) will broadcast the Crest @ Hunter Huss game.
All three of those games can also be heard on ktcbroadcasting.com. The Kings Mountain @ Statesville game will also be available on ktcbroadcasting.com.
WNNC Radio (1230AM, 101.3FM) will broadcast the West Stokes @ Bandys game.
FRIDAY NIGHT'S SCHEDULE:
Bishop McGuiness (8-4) @ Thomas Jefferson (11-0)
Bessemer City (7-5) @ East Surry (8-3)
East Lincoln (6-6) @ North Lincoln (9-3) Shelby (9-3) @ Ashe County (10-2) West Stokes (11-1) @ Bandys (11-1) South Point (9-3) @ Hibriten (12-0)
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