WEST LINCOLN CONTINUES HISTORY MAKING SEASON
By: Anthony Perkins
Lincolnton – The West Lincoln Rebels hosted their first ever playoff game against the South Point Red Raiders in the second round of the playoffs on Friday night. After winning their first ever playoff game last week against fifth seed Ashe County the Rebels were looking to add to their historic year by not only hosting a game but a win would get them into the third round for the first time in school history.
Their opponents, the thirteen seed South Point Red Raiders, were coming into the contest with a 5-6 regular season record and a first-round win over fourth seeded Smoky Mountain. South Point was looking for a win to avoid a losing season, something they have not experienced since 2006, but it wasn’t to be found as the host Rebels outlasted the visiting Red Raiders by a 29-21 final score.
Both teams feature offenses that rely heavily on their rushing attack and there were no surprises in this contest. The Rebels took the first lead on their second possession of the first quarter when quarterback Mason Huitt called his own number and ran it in from 2 yards out. The point after sailed wide to keep the score at 6-0.
South Point answered on their next possession that carried over into the second quarter when fullback Hunter Hogue crossed the goal line after a three-yard run. Carson Smith added his first of three extra points to give the visiting Red Raiders their first and only lead at 7-6.
For the rest of the game it was simply a matter of West Lincoln scoring a touchdown and then South Point would answer but the Rebels were always the first to score. Running back Cannon Bridges scored on a three-yard run with just over five minutes remaining in the first half and Xander Pendergrass added a two-point conversion run to push the lead to 14-7 that the Rebels carried into the intermission.
South Point answered on their first possession of the second half with a ten-yard run by Hogue to knot the score at 14-14. After both teams traded punts the Rebels took a 21-14 lead on a 28-yard run by Huitt that lasted only as long as the Red Raiders next possession that carried over into the fourth quarter.
South Point opened up the final quarter with a game tying, seven-yard run by wing back Devon King but less than six minutes remained on the clock.
West Lincoln’s final drive started on their own twenty and Cannon Bridges capped off the eighty-yard drive with another three-yard touchdown run but by the time he crossed the goal line only 85 ticks were left on the clock. As a result of the time crunch the Red Raiders were forced to go to the air in an attempt to cover the seventy yards to pay dirt. It just wasn’t in the cards for South Point on this night. After four consecutive incomplete passes the ball went back over to the Rebels who were content to go into the victory formation for the remaining fifty seconds.
Next week the Rebels will travel to Shelby to take on the Golden Lion who were 49-7 winners over the Maiden Blue Devils on this same night.
Congratulations to the Red Raiders who were plagued all year long by injury after injury which resulted in numerous line-up changes and adjustments and still managing to finish the season in a respectable manner. Congratulations are also in order to the West Lincoln Rebels for their history making year; winning their first playoff game, hosting their first playoff game, and getting into the second and third round for the first time. Go Rebels!