Rebels’ running game too much for Blue Devils, now 0-2 in league
MAIDEN – West Lincoln High — trying to make this season a special one in football – earned an attention-grabbing victory on Friday night.
Getting nearly 400 yards on offense and 376 on the ground, the visiting Rebels beat Maiden 31-18 for their first varsity football win over the Blue Devils in 33 years.
West Lincoln (5-1, 1-1 South Fork 2A) had lost 20 straight games against Maiden – 12 of them at Maiden – and had last beaten the Blue Devils in 1985.
Running backs Brendon Ikard and Nakathon Phansook led the Rebels, rushing 22 times for 161 yards and one TD and 132 yards on 26 carries and one TD, respectively, as West Lincoln ran 65 times for 376 yards.
The victory came in the 100th game for Tom Sain as head coach at West Lincoln, and he most wanted to savor an important victory and get right back to work.
“Enjoy tonight,” Sain told his players postgame, the Lincoln Times News reported. “It’s been since 1985 beating Maiden High School so we’re proud for all the folks and former players who hadn’t beaten Maiden since then. Tonight, I was glad for that. We’ll go back to work on Monday for Newton-Conover.”
West Lincoln is at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Newton-Conover in a South Fork 2A game while Maiden (4-2, 0-2) will try to rebound, also Friday at 7:30 p.m., when it goes to Lake Norman Charter.
Maiden quarterback Bain Sipe had a big game, completing 22 of 34 throws for 367 yards, but the Blue Devils did all their scoring after West Lincoln opened a 24-0 lead through three quarters.
Rebels quarterback Seth Willis opened the scoring with a 1-yard run midway through the first quarter.
Phansook’s 1-yard scoring run and a 20-yard TD pass from Willis to Mason Huitt widened the West Lincoln lead to 18-0 by halftime.
When Phansook scored on a 1-yard run with three minutes, four seconds left in the third quarter, West Lincoln was sitting on a 24-0 advantage.
Sipe threw 55 yards to Dylan Abernathy for Maiden’s first score, answered by the Rebels about six minutes later by Ikard’s 2-yard TD run.
Maiden scored twice in the final 74 seconds, on a 22-yard pass from Sipe to Montrell Stinson and on Lee Turner’s 5-yard run with 33.9 seconds to play.
West Lincoln outgained the Blue Devils 396-373, holding Maiden to six yards rushing on 21 attempts.
Sipe hit Stinson eight times for 137 yards and Abernathy eight times for 161 yards, and his season passing yardage rose (unofficially) to 1,659. Sipe has thrown for at least 162 yards in five games and for more than 200 in four.
“Credit West Lincoln,” Maiden head coach Will Byrne told the Lincoln Times News. “Credit their coaches and their players. They played hard.
“We couldn’t get anything going. They ran right at us. We couldn’t get off the field and there at the end we were just in separation mode trying to keep fighting.
“I was proud of our kids for fighting until the end.”
The Times News reported Maiden running back D.J. Murph was ejected with fewer than four mintues to play and, under North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) rules, will sit out the next two games.
West Lincoln’s win was its third in 28 games against Maiden since the 1980 season. The Rebels had last won in Maiden 12-8 in 1980 and their 8-6 win in 1985 was at West Lincoln.
Sain, in his ninth season, improved to 46-54, and Byrne’s teams at Maiden are 23-7 since he took over three seasons ago.