This will no doubt be the toughest test for the North Lincoln Knights since they won a come-from-behind game over West Lincoln during the regular season. The Knights host the Burns Bulldogs Friday night in the third round of the NCHSAA 2AA Football playoffs. The winner of that game will play the winner of the West Lincoln at Shelby game next Friday for the western region championship and a trip to the state championship game in Winston-Salem on December 14th.
The Knights lost their opening game of the season to Parkwood in double overtime. Kicker Ian Fiore had a terrible and very uncharacteristic night, missing three field goal tries and an extra point kick. In fairness to Fiore, it was a windy night and the field was still very wet--the game had been postponed from Friday night until Saturday night because of heavy rain on Friday. They haven't lost since, and Fiore has 69 of his 73 EP tries since then plus kicked a couple of field goals.
Sophomore Ty Williams has rushed for 1209 yards for the Knights and has run for 20 touchdowns. Senior Jake Soorus has 940 yards rushing and 11 TDs on runs; he has also caught five passes for touchdowns. Sam Brady has run for 7 touchdowns and caught passes for three more, but his defensive work has been just as important to the Knights--he's had 45 solo tackles and been in on 33 more.
In their 13 games, the Knights have averaged scoring over 45 points per game, while they have allowed an average of only 9.8 points per game; they've had three shutouts and four other games where their opponents only got two touchdowns.
Burns has lost twice this season--a 34-6 rout to Kings Mountain in their opening game and a much closer 26-13 loss to Shelby. Their star is senior running back Kujuan Pryor, who has scored 25 of his team's 60 touchdowns, 19 rushing and 6 as a receiver. Quarterback Cam'ron Sweezy has completed 81 of his 153 passes, 21 of them for touchdowns. In addition to Pryor's six TD catches, other favorite targets are K.J. Leslie, who has also caught six touchdown tosses, and Jaquan Degree, who has caught 7. Kicker Zach Benfield has made 38 of his 40 extra point tries, and he has connected on all three of his field goal attempts, the longest for 44 yards.
If you're going to the game Friday, get there early--a huge crowd is expected.
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