High school football gets underway for most area teams this Friday evening. Mountain Island Charter had its game at Anson County moved up to Thursday; but then lightning in a thunderstorm moved it back to Friday. It will pick up in the first quarter Friday evening. Two area teams--Crest and Ashbrook--had their games nixed by COVID. Crest was supposed to host Freedom, but that school had a virus outbreak. The Chargers managed to switch to a game with Pisgah--but then Tropical Storm Fred ravaged the NC mountains, so that fell through. Chargers fans will now have to wait until next Friday to see their team in action. They'll play Aug. 27th at Burns.
Ashbrook's game with Concord in Gastonia also got canceled because the Spiders had a COVID outbreak. The Green Wave will now begin the season next Friday at T.C.Roberson.
One of the biggest rivalries over the years has been the "Battle of Buffalo Creek," and that Cleveland County game will happen this year on opening night when Kings Mountain hosts Shelby.
Burns Bulldogs will open their season at Forestview.
The other Cleveland County team, Thomas Jefferson Academy, will open it season at Valdese against Draughn.
Lincolnton High School has a new football coach and a new Athletic Director. Brent Gates is the new A.D. and David Byrd is the new coach. The Wolves open their season at South Point. This has been a long-time rivalry dating back to many years ago when both were in the same 3A conference. South Point's JVs beat the LHS JVs 22-0 Thursday night in Lincolnton.
West Lincoln begins Coach Darren Ponder's third season at home against North Lincoln, but this year, that's a non-conference game. Ponder has guided the Rebels to the playoffs the last two seasons. Their three losses this Spring (two regular season and one in the playoffs) were by a total of six points. Friday night's game will be at West. On Thursday evening, the North JVs won 13-12 at North Lincoln. West Lincoln scored a TD with 22 seconds left in the game. They decided to go for the win and try a two-point conversion. When that failed, North held on for the 22 seconds and won.
North joins East in moving to 3A this year. In the new Western Foothills Conference, they'll play in a league with Foard, St. Stephens and Hickory plus three Iredell County teams: North & West Iredell and Statesville.
East Lincoln opens its season at Hibriten. The Panthers, who like East move to 3A this year, haven't lost a conference game since 2015. Including playoff losses, they've lost a total of only five games over the last five seasons. East Lincoln won the JV game Thursday evening at East 31-0.
Maiden, picked by most to be the 'team to beat' in the Catawba Valley Conference, will open the season at home against Fred T. Foard. On Thursday evening, the Maiden JVs beat the Foard JVs 18-13.
Bandys will host St. Stephens Friday evening. The Trojans former QB, Trey Shearer, who averaged nearly 100 yards of total offense per game last season, will be playing at R-S Central this Fall after his family moved back to Rutherford County, where they lived until Trey was in the sixth grade.
Former Lincolnton Coach Joe Glass is now the coach at Hickory. The Red Tornadoes open at Alexander Central on Friday. In other games involving Catawba County teams, Bunker Hill hosts Stuart Cramer and Newton-Conover opens at Polk County.
In Gaston County, East Gaston plays at North Gaston, Cherryville opens at Avery County, Bessemer City plays at Community School of Davidson, and Hunter Huss plays at Hickory Ridge in addition to the games already mentioned.
Some games may be available on pay-per-view from NFHS. The Maiden vs Foard game was listed as available that way on a tweet, but the NFHS website didn't show that game on their schedule.
Statesville, from the Western Foothills 3A Conference (with East Lincoln and North Lincoln) plays at Carson in China Grov this Friday--and that 7 PM game is on the NFHS schedule. So is the Hunter Huss at Hickory Ridge game and the Newton-Conover at Polk County game.
On the radio, WLON (1050AM, 107.5FM) will carry the North Lincoln @ West Lincoln game. You can also hear it online at ktcbroadcasting.com. WCSL, Cherryville (1590AM, 92.3FM) will carry the Cherryville at Avery County game (also on ktcbroadcasting.com); and WOHS, Shelby (1390AM, 101.5FM) will carry the Burns at Forestview game (also on ktcbroadcasting.com). WNNC, Newton (1230AM, 101.3FM) will broadcast the St. Stephens at Bandys game; you can also hear it online at https://wnncradio.com/football/.
The Lincoln Herald will update scores throughout the evening (be sure to refresh our scoreboard article to see the latest updates) and we should have all the scores by late Friday night.