photo courtesy of Elizabeth Taylor, Maiden High School
Wayne Howard Reporter
For most area teams, this is it! The long-delayed and shortened high school football season will come to an end. For some, it has been a nightmare; for others, a disappointment; for those who will play on in the NCHSAA playoffs, it was short, but sweet. The regular season ends this week, and for most area teams, it will be the end of football until next school year, when football will hopefully begin in August instead of February.
One game that was scheduled for Friday has been moved up to Thursday: Lincolnton at Maiden will be played Thursday night. We'll update this article if there are any other changes and we get a report.
West Lincoln will be going to the playoffs again thanks to their overtime win over East Lincoln last week. The Rebels made history in 2019 by winning their first playoff game ever over Ashe County 48-6; then improved to 10-3 with a 29-21 victory over Belmont South Point. The next week, they ran into eventual state champion Shelby and their most successful season ever ended.
This year, West had high hopes. They led early in their first game against defending South Fork Conference champion North Lincoln, but ended up losing 10-6. Against the Maiden Blue Devils, they held the lead until the final minute, when Maiden scored to take a 21-20 victory. They haven't lost since. Their conference schedule completed, the Rebels will travel to the NC mountains this Friday to play Cherokee.
While West looks forward to the playoffs, East Lincon is one of those teams that has to be disappointed. They and Maiden played two weeks ago in what most said was the game that would decide this year's conference champs. East scored 38 points--but the Blue Devils scored 46. Last week, they led at halftime, tied the game with West at the end, and had the first opportunity in OT, but a fumble kept them from scoring and West scored on their overtime possession to hand the Mustangs their second loss. Since the two will likely both finish with the same record, West, having won their match with each other, will get the conference's second playoff spot.
Another team that may be disappointed is Newton-Conover. The Red Devils led Lincolnton, but the Wolves put on a furious fourth quarter comeback to wn the first game of the season. The Red Devils also lost to West and Maiden. They'll be at East Lincoln Friday night and with the change in schedule, WLON Radio (1050AM, 107.5FM) will carry the Lincolnton at Maiden game Thursday night AND the Newton-Conovet at East Lincoln game on Friday. You can also hear both on ktcbroadcasting.com.
The Blue Devils had a close call with West and a reasonably close challenge from Bandys; they outscored East and had little trouble with anybody else. They're the conference champs and will play their first playoff game at home. The seasn couldn't have been much better.
North Gaston and Fred T. Foard both had problems with the coronavirus. North has two games cancelled, although one was made up Monday when they played Forestview. The Wildcats lost that game as they have all five others to drop to 0-6. They'll finish the season at home this Friday against East Gaston.
The Warriors have also had a disappointing season, but last week, they finally got their first win when they easily handled East Rutherford.
This week's varsity games were scheduled to begin Thursday night when Shelby was scheduled to play at winless East Rutherford. With multiple players already out of the lineup, East Rutherford decided after an embarassing and undermanned loss to East Gaston last week to call it quits for the year, so they forfeited the game, giving the Golden Lions another Southwest 2A title. The other team from that conference to go to the playoffs will likely be the Burns Bulldogs. They need to win at R-S Central Friday to confirm it.
The game of the week in the area this week has got to be Crest at Kings Mtn. Regardless of the outcome, both will go to the playoffs. Both are unbeaten, and the Big South 3A Conference championship is on the line. There won't be any opportunity to hear the game on radio or the internet. Kings Mtn. High School has decided not to allow radio play-by-play.
The traditional Gastonia matchup happens this week when Hunter Huss plays at Ashbrook. A Catawba County rivalry game has St. Stephens at Hickory. That game will be broadcast by WNNC Radio (Newton--1230AM, 101.3FM) or you can hear it online at wnncradio.com.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Lincolnton at Maiden--moved up to Thursday night Bandys at North Lincoln Newton-Conover at East Lincoln West Lincoln at Cherokee Bessemer City at Cherryville Mtn. Island Charter at Union Academy Highland Tech at Christ the King Burns at R-S Central Chase at South Point East Gaston at North Gaston Forestview at Stuart Cramer Crest at Kings Mtn. Hunter Huss at Ashbrook St. Stephens at Hickory Fred T. Foard at West Iredell Bunker Hill at West Caldwell
NOTE: We had earlier indicated the North Lincoln vs Bandys game would be at Bandys. We were wrong, but so was every other schedule we checked including MaxPreps. The game will be at North Lincoln. ON THE RADIO
You can hear the Lincolnton at Maiden game Thursday night and the Newton-Conover at East Lincoln game Friday on WLON Radio (1050AM, 107.5FM or online at ktcbroadcasting.com. WCSL (1590AM, 92.3FM) will carry the Bessemer City at Cherryville game. WNNC (1230AM, 101.3FM) will carry St. Stephens at Hickory, which can also be heard online at wnncradio.com.
We'll do our best to try to update games in progress Friday nght and we'll have all the scores by late Friday or very early on Saturday.