SOUTH FORK 2A ROUNDUP: Cribb-led Knights beat Maiden for first time

Published Monday, October 15th, 2018

Newton-Conover High head football coach Steven Pack shouts words of encouragement to his Red Devils on Friday night during their 52-28 victory over Lake Norman Charter at Gurley Stadium. The Red Devils are 4-4 overall as they head to North Lincoln for a game on Friday night./PHOTO COURTESY OF OBSERVER NEWS ENTERPRISE.

West Lincoln nips Lincolnton, will battle

league-leading Bandys next at West Lincoln


Editor’s note: A story on the other South Fork 2A game – East Lincoln at Bandys – is posted separately.

MAIDEN – Three touchdown runs by running back Clayton Cribb on Friday night sparked North Lincoln High’s first victory over Maiden in varsity football, keeping the Knights tied for first place in South Fork 2A football.


Cribb ran 27 times for 138 yards — scoring on runs of 5, 1 and 2 yards – as the visiting Knights (6-2, 4-0) beat the Blue Devils for the first time in their 10-game series.

“It’s incredible,” North Lincoln head coach Nick Bazzle told The Observer News Enterprise after the game. “That’s all our kids have been talking about all year – change the culture.

“The only way we can do that is get some wins. And they’ve just bought into what we’ve been teaching them…It’s just a work on everybody’s part.”

The victory kept North Lincoln tied with Bandys (7-1, 4-0), a 35-14 winner on Friday over East Lincoln at Bandys, for first place.

The Knights play Newton-Conover at North Lincoln on Friday at 7:30 p.m. while Maiden (2-6, 1-3) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it visits East Lincoln the same night (7:30 p.m.).

Bandys and North Lincoln do not play until Nov. 2, the final night of the regular season, at North Lincoln.

Cribb led North Lincoln’s 248-yard rushing attack against Maiden with his third straight 100-yard game and his fifth with more than 100 this season. He has (unofficially) 443 yards in the last three games.

Maiden led the Knights 13-7 at the half, and North Lincoln grabbed its first lead with five minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter on Cribb’s 1-yard run and a PAT by Ian Fiore that capped a 16-play drive.

With 2:24 to play, Cribb scored on a 2-yard run and Fiore added a PAT that left the Knights up 21-13.

Maiden closed within two points with 1:11 to go when quarterback Bain Sipe hit wide receiver Dylan Abernathy for a 45-yard TD pass. The Knights stopped a two-point conversion run that would have tied the game.

Sipe completed seven passes for 153 yards with Caleb McDaniel making two catches for 39 yards and leading the Blue Devils’ rushing with 85 yards on 13 carries.

Maiden outgained North Lincoln 320-296.

Bazzle, out of football for two seasons and a previous head coach at Newton-Conover and Alexander Central, picked up his 135th career victory.

“The kids are learning how to win when they’re down (and) when they’re behind,” Bazzle told The Observer News Enterprise. “And if they can do that, the culture will change.

“Sometime down the road our kids won’t say ‘Coach, why do we always get picked for Homecoming?’

“And we’ll say ‘Well, that’s because of where you were. If you want to change that, you’re going to have to change the culture.

“That’s kind if motivation for them too. We’re just playing really good right now but we’re beat up as we can be.

“We’ve got people out that’s not been able to play and that’s hurting but if one goes out the other comes in so I’m just proud of them.”

West Lincoln 20, Lincolnton 14

LINCOLNTON — Running back Nakathan Phansook returned to the offensive lineup for the Rebels, rushing 23 times for 138 yards and two scores as West Lincoln nipped the Wolves in Lincolnton.

The Rebels (7-1, 3-1) are alone in third place in the South Fork 2A as they prepare to face league-leading Bandys on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Lincolnton (1-7, 0-4) shares last place with Lake Norman Charter and goes to Lake Norman Charter on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Phansook scored on runs of 5 and 2 yards and running back Brendon Ikard had 21 carries for 119 yards and a rushing TD as West Lincoln reached seven wins for the 10th time in school history.

The Rebels’ school record for single-season wins is eight.

Phansook, who played only on defense the week before due to an injury, scored on a 5-yard run in the first quarter and Gerrardo Quintero-Meja’s PAT tied it 7-all.

Panshook gave West Lincoln the lead just three seconds into the second quarter, scoring on a 2-yard run.

Lincolnton’s Caden Wyatt scored on a 2-yard run about 7 ½ minutes later and Justin White’s PAT left it at 14-14 at halftime.

Ikard’s 17-yard run with 2:30 to play in the third quarter was the only second-half score.

West Lincoln outgained Lincolnton 304-162, which includes limiting the Wolves to 33 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Lincolnton quarterback E.J. Manjarres threw for 101 yards, hitting James Woods twice for 83 yards. They connected on the game’s opening score, a 61-yard pass just 11 seconds after kickoff.

The Wolves fell to 7-14 in their last 21 games and have matchups with Lake Norman Charter, North Lincoln and Maiden to go.

Lincolnton has won at least four games every year since 1999, after going 1-9 in 1998.

Newton-Conover 52, Lake Norman Charter 28

NEWTON — The Red Devils (4-4, 2-2) rolled at home, piling up 568 yards on offense with running back Allen Wilfong rushing 18 times for a season-high 210 yards and two scores.

Newton-Conover, tied for fourth place with East Lincoln, ran 34 times for 377 yards and quarterback Justice Craig completed 14 of 24 passes for 193 yards and three TDs.

Wide receiver Kyjuan McClain had five catches for 85 yards for the Red Devils.

Unofficially, Wilfong is at 1,051 rushing yards this season. He has six games of 100 or more yards rushing.

Lake Norman Charter dropped to 2-6, 0-4 and shares last place with Lincolnton. The Knights and Wolves play Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Lake Norman Charter.

Newton-Conover plays Friday at 7:30 p.m. at North Lincoln to battle Bazzle, who was Red Devils head coach from 1999 to 2011.

The Red Devils’ new head coach, Steven Pack, was head coach last season at North Lincoln.

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