HS FOOTBALL PREVIEWS: N. Lincoln must beat Maiden for first time to keep pace in South Fork 2A

Jacob Ellis (24) is one of a stockpile of players Bandys High can turn to in its explosive option offense. The Trojans are at home tonight against East Lincoln with RB Ethan Howard (not pictured) needing 10 yards to move up another spot on the school’s all-time rushing list./MICHELLE THOMPSON PHOTO

Bandys’ Ethan Howard needs 10 yards to

move  past Chris Douglas on all-time rushing list




Editor’s note: All statistical totals referenced are unofficial and historical information is from research and files of HobbsDailyReport.com that dates back to the 1980 season (or before). References to Ethan Howard’s yardage needs have been updated since the previews were originally posted on Friday, as his official 2018 yardage from Bandys and a revised official total for Chris Douglas has now been determined.


Maiden is honoring its 1978 state 2A football team at tonight’s home game, which includes having a reception prior to the game to provide a chance for those associated with the program that year to share memories of that season.

NORTH LINCOLN (5-2, 3-0)

at MAIDEN (5-2, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

The Knights go into The Biggest Little Football Town In The World sharing first place with Bandys, but to keep pace with the Trojans will mean beating Maiden for the first time.

The series is 9-0 Maiden (with the Knights 0-5 in Maiden) and North Lincoln is playing on the Blue Devils’ field for the first time since a 28-7 loss there in 2012.

QB Bain Sipe leads the Blue Devils, who are seeking career win No. 25 for head coach Will Byrne (24-7, third season) and who are in need of a win to keep alive some certainty of still making the state playoffs.

RBs Jake Soorus (55-523 yards, 6 TDs) and Clayton Cribb (116-701 6 TDs) lead North Lincoln, and this is Game No. 222 for Knights head coach Nick Bazzle, who has also been head coach at Newton-Conover and Alexander Central.

Bazzle, in his first year at North Lincoln, has 134 career wins.

Maiden is honoring its 1978 state 2A title team, which beat Tabor City, prior to the game with a gathering of former players and those associated with the program, and the team will be honored at the game as well.

EAST LINCOLN (4-3, 2-1) at BANDYS (6-1, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.

Senior running back Ethan Howard needs 775 yards to pass Chris Spade’s currently recognized career rushing mark at Bandys. Here’s a breakdown of performances, based on games played, that Howard would need to close as the top rusher in school history:
Games to play      Avg needed to set record
4                                         193.7 yards per game
5 (Round 1 playoffs)       155 yards per game
6 (Round 2)                      129.1 yards per game
7 (Round 3)                      110.7 yards per game
8 (Round 4)                     96.8 yards per game

The Mustangs have won seven straight over the Trojans and six straight at Butler Stadium, where Bandys will attempt to keep its option offense in gear and gain a win in order to remain – at worst – tied atop the league standings with North Lincoln.

QB Chase Jones leads East Lincoln, throwing for 1,062 yards and 14 TDs (seven in the last three games), and eight of those have gone to WR Sidney Dollar (21-400 yards).

Bandys has multiple offensive weapons, a big offensive line and a go-to RB, Ethan Howard, who is chasing school records. He officially has 1,038 yards with 11 rushing TDs and is climbing the career rushing chart at Bandys very rapidly.

Howard has 3,273 career rushing yards after adding 220 yards last Friday night in a home victory over Lincolnton. He needs 11 yards to pass Chris Douglas, one of the all-time rushing stars for the Trojans (he later played and set records at Duke and only a late exhibition injury kept him from making the New York Giants roster).

Chris Spade is currently credited as the all-time leading rusher at Bandys (4,047 unofficially)… and whether or not Howard can catch and pass him may depend on how many more games the Trojans play this season.

Spade’s rushing total are documented but research for documentation of rushing totals for the late Dennis ‘Dink’ Hollar — who starred in the early 1970s and may have gained 4,000 or more yards — has not been fruitful.


at NEWTON-CONOVER (3-4, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

It’s the second meeting of the Knights and Red Devils, after Newton-Conover won last season on the road, 63-7.

The Red Devils chase a sixth career victory for head coach Steven Pack, in his first season at Newton-Conover, and they’re led by RB Allen Wilfong (127-841, 9 TDs), QB Justice Craig (61-112-9 for 837 yards, 7 TDs) and WR Kyjuan McClain (34-593, 5 TDs).

RB Jaden Goodman has 345 rushing yards in the Lake Norman offense and QB Jeff Womack has thrown for 431 yards.

WEST LINCOLN (6-1, 2-1) at LINCOLNTON (1-6, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.

Led by RB Brendon Ikard (80-731, 6 TDs) and QB Seth Willis (739 yards of total offense), the Rebels try to become the 10th team in school history to reach at least seven wins.

RB Nakathan Phanshook played only on defense last week and RB Cannon Bridges filled in with a 20-carry, 170-yard rushing game in a victory over Newton-Conover.

QB E.J. Manjarres (341 yards passing, 3 TDs) leads a Wolves offense void of the traditional multiple weapons they’ve usually had, and WR James Woods is a scoring threat.

West Lincoln pursues career win No. 48 for head coach Tom Sain, who tied the Rebels single-season record of eight wins in his first season (8-4 in 2010).

The Rebels’ other eight-win seasons were in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970 under Brennan Elliott.


DRAUGHN (0-8, 0-3) at HIBRITEN (7-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.

Hibriten, the defending conference champion and defending state 2AA champion, goes for its 24th straight victory (the Panthers were 16-0 a year ago).

Using much the same formula as many of the past years, Hibriten’s depth – especially in the offensive backfield – sets it apart, led by RB McKinley (Gee) Witherspoon.

Draughn hasn’t won a game under first-year head coach Chris Powell but has a QB, Braxton Cox, who has a shot at throwing for 2,000 yards this season. He needs another 185 yards.

A Hibriten win would give head coach Clay Lewis, in his ninth season, 89 for his career (88-28).

EAST BURKE (1-6, 0-2) at BUNKER HILL (1-7, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

East Burke visits “The Hill” for the third time and first time since 2011 when it won there 36-29.

This is the fifth Cavs-Bears game and they have split the previous four.

RB Josh Moore has six rushing TDs and leads the Cavs’ running game with 759 yards.

The Bears snapped a nine-game losing streak by beating Draughn last week when QB Desmond Anderson had a hand in five scores and won WNNC’s Golden Helmet Award.

WEST IREDELL (4-2, 2-0) at PATTON (4-4, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors, coming off an open date, need a win to keep pace with Hibriten.

A win by Patton would create a three-way tie for second place – the Warriors and Panthers are idle Fred T. Foard.

QB Weston Fleming has been a spark for Patton as it has won two straight games. He had 527 yards of total offense this season that includes seven rushing scores and two TD passes. RB Bryson Ratliff adds 464 rushing yards on 98 carries with five TDs.


FREEDOM (6-1, 3-0) at SOUTH CALDWELL (2-5, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

The Patriots go for their sixth straight win over the Spartans in a series they’ve dominated (23-5 in 1980).

Freedom needs a victory to, at worst, keep pace with Watauga for first place in the conference.

QB Jayden Birchfield and WR Dezmond Caldwell have driven defenses crazy the past few weeks, as Freedom continues to roll to get head coach Luke Little to 93 career victories. Little is in his first season as the Patriots’ boss.

Birchfield is 111-of-164 for 1,727 yards and 14 TDs and only three interceptions while Caldwell has 42 catches for 753 yards. In his last four games, Caldwell has 29 catches for 622 yards and four scores.

This is the 20th game as head coach at South Caldwell for head coach Marc Kirkpatrick (3-16), a former Spartans starting QB.

HICKORY (3-4, 1-2) at WEST CALDWELL (0-7, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.

Hickory has won five straight over the Warriors and leads the series 5-1 with a 3-0 record at West Caldwell.

Head coach Russell Stone (271 career wins, 9-10 at HHS) will rely on QB Bryce Stober and WR Jaylen Harper as the Red Tornaodes try to even their record and stay in contention for another state playoff bid.

Stober has completed 109 passes for 1,320 yards and 10 TDs while Harper has 51 catches for 576 yards and four TDs. In his last four games, Harper has 34 catches for 495 yards.

This is the 20th game for DeVore Holman as head coach at West Caldwell (6-13 record).

ST. STEPHENS (3-4, 2-1) at WATAUGA (7-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.

St. Stephens is in third place in the conference race as it goes to Boone to face the hard-charging Pioneers.

Watauga is coming off a 43-23 victory over Hickory and it’s the Pioneers’ homecoming game.

Watauga has won three straight in Boone over the Indians but the last 16 games are evenly split, and St. Stephens has not won at Watauga since a 31-28 decision in 2010.

RB Xavian King leads St. Stephens with 775 rushing yards and 10 TDs, and the Indians’ passing game has stepped up of late with QB Connor Williams (54-116-12 for 666 yards, 5 TDs) and WR Zach Lee (32-547, 4 TDs) working well together.

Watauga — 50-19 since Ryan Habich became head coach six years ago — is led offensively by RBs Bryce Satterfield (117-780) and Jaiden Bond (46-731). They sparked the win over Hickory that pushed Habich’s career win total to 100 (100-33, 11 years).

ALEXANDER CENTRAL (5-2, 1-2) at McDOWELL (3-4, 1-2), 7:30 p.m.

The Cougars hope to snap a two-game skid when they play in Marion.

Alexander Central has two RBs already over 500 rushing yards, A.J. Miller and Steven Montgomery, and the Cougars are going for their seventh straight win over the Titans.

McDowell is 7-5 at home against Alexander Central since the 1985 season, and the Titans lead the series in that time frame by 15-10.

RB J.C. Olivio and QB Adam Randolph spark the Titans, who need to keep winning in order to stay in front of South Caldwell, the only other 4A team in the conference.

McDowell beat South Caldwell 48-28 last Friday night in Hudson and will get the league’s 4A playoff berth if is finishes higher in the league standings than the Spartans.

South Caldwell appears likely to finish 1-6 in conference games… and McDowell has winless West Caldwell still on its schedule.

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