The big game in Friday night football this week has West Lincoln at Maiden. For the Blue Devils, it's their Homecoming game. For the Rebels, it's their biggest test so far. West is unbeaten in four games; Maiden lost a defensive struggle at Watauga. Both are 1-0 in the Catawba Valley Conference.
West likes to run the ball; they've thrown the ball only 11 times. They rely instead on the running of Mason Avery and Jaylin Winnex. Avery has run for 789 yards, averaging 197 per game; Winnex has run for 43a, averaging over a hundred per game. West gave up 28 points to Bandys last Friday; they had allowed only 21 total in their first three games.
Maiden likes to pass. Quarterback Wesley Thompson threw four touchdown passes Friday against East Burke. His favorite target is Chris Culliver, who has averaged 120 yards per game receiving. Running back Ben Gibbs give the Devils a strong running option when needed. He averages almost a hundred yards per game.
Last year, when both teams were unbeaten at the time, the game came down to a goal-line stand by the Blue Devils stopping a drive by the Rebels. With the score tied at 14-all, West had made it to the Maiden 2-yard line three minutes into the final period. On third down, Mason Avery, who got 121 yards in 32 carries that night, got to the one. Almost everybody--including the Maiden defenders--expected him to get the ball again on fourth and goal. He did, and the Blue Devils were ready. Avery was stopped just short of the goal line.
The Blue Devils didn't score on their next possession and West got the ball back with the score still tied, but a fumble with six minutes left gave the ball back to the Blue Devils at their 41-yd line. West's defense pushed them back a couple of yards, but Maiden got a first down on a fourth down play and continued to drive. The Blue Devils scored the winning touchdown on a two-yard run by Will Stover with just eight seconds left in the game.
Following the loss to Maiden, West lost again the following week at Bunker Hill. In the playoffs, they faced Maiden again in the second round and this time it was all Blue Devils 47-0.
After a disappointing loss at Bunker Hill, Lincolnton returns home this week to play Newton-Conover. East Lincoln travels to Statesville and North Lincoln plays at Hickory. East is the only unbeaten team in the Western Foothills Conference.
Other games Friday night include:
Cherryville at East Gaston
Kings Mountain at North Gaston
Fred T. Foard at West Iredell
Crest at Stuart Cramer
Bunker Hill at West Caldwell
St. Stephens at North Iredell
Forestview at Ashbrook
Hunter Huss at South Point
Thomas Jefferson at Shelby
Bessemer City at Highland Tech
Community School of Davidson at Mountain Island Charter
ON THE RADIO & ONLINE:
WLON (1050AM & 107.5FM) will have the West Lincoln @ Maiden game [Technical problems that caused them not to have the North Lincoln game as planned last Friday will not be a problem; Maiden gives them a direct internet connection, so if you can't attend, you can hear the game.] That game will also be on WNNC (1230AM, 101.3FM) and online at https://wnncradio.com/football/.
The Newton-Conover at Lincolnton game will be on YouTube (find ktcbroadcasting.com and Newton-Conover @ Lincolnton on YouTube).
WCSL (1590AM, 92.9FM) will have the Cherryville @ East Gaston game; also available on ktcbroadcasting.com.
The Kings Mtn. @ North Gaston game will be on YouTube (ktcbroadcasting.com and game description).
North Lincoln @ Hickory and East Lincoln @ Statesville games will both be on NFHS (https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/) [subscription required].