The game of the week this week in high school football is Lincolnton at Maiden. For the Wolves, it's a 'must win' situation if they are to have a chance at a share of the Catawba Valley Conference title. Even if they are able to pull off a big upset over the Blue Devils, they'll still need a victory next week when they host West Lincoln.
At this point, Maiden is on top in the conference and barring an upset will take the conference championship. After Lincolnton this week, they have a game at Newton-Conover next week.
The Blue Devils likely won the title with their win over previously unbeaten Bunker Hill last Friday. The 36-33 victory was as exciting as any in recent memory. Ben Gibbs put Maiden ahead with a 32-yd TD pass catch on their second possession of the night, but that came after the Bears drove to the Maiden 32-yd line on their first possession before their drive stalled.
The 7-0 lead didn't last as the Bears scored on a 19-yd pass to Elijah Boston. QB Redek Robinson completed another TD pass to Boston, a 28-yarder, and the Bears led 13-7. Chris Culliver returned the ensuing kick for a TD covering 90 yards and the EP kick put the Devils back in front 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Culliver scored on a 3-yd run early in the second period and with the EP Maiden led 21-13, but a pick-six return of 50 yards by Kaden Bolick cut that to 21-19. Gibbs ran 10 yds for a TD with two minutes left until halftime and with Carson Foard's EP kick, it was 28-19; but Jason Willis, Jr., who had a great night running the ball, scored for the Bears and Alan Bahena's kick made it 28-26 at halftime.
Bunker Hill got the ball first in the second half and drove to Maiden's 24-yd line, but penalties pushed them back and they had to punt. After a back-and-forth tussle for most of the third period, the Bears finally scored with about two minutes left and the kick made it 33-28.
Maiden drove to Bunker Hill's 9-yd line, but failed to score, but after the Bears had to punt, Gibbs threw a long pass to Culliver and QB Wesley Thompson tossed a 10-yarder to Alec Hall for what would become the winning touchdown. Jackson Henley ran for two extra points and made it 36-33.
Bunker Hill had only 46 seconds left, but that was quickly erased when Will Stover knocked the ball loose on the kickoff return and the Blue Devils recovered.
The Bears will host Newton-Conover this week; they play at home against Bandys next Friday.
West Lincoln, with two conference losses, is out of the conference championship picture, but they hope to finish the regular season with an 8-2 record. To do that, the Rebels will need to beat East Burke at home this week and win at Lincolnton next.
East Lincoln puts its unbeaten record on the line again this Friday at North Iredell, then hosts North Lincoln next week. The Mustangs have totally dominated their opponents this season. North Lincoln finally got its second win of the season last Friday, an impressive Homecoming victory over Fred T. Foard 55-17. The Knights play at West Iredell this week.
Other games have unbeaten Kings Mountain hosting Ashbrook, Cherryville at Burns, Hickory at Fred T. Foard, Newton-Conover at Bunker Hill, East Gaston at Shelby, North Gaston at Stuart Cramer, Crest at Hunter Huss, Forestview at South Point, Thomas Jefferson at Highland Tech and
Winston-Salem Carver at Mtn. Island Charter.
ON THE RADIO and ONLINE
The Lincolnton @ Maiden game will be broadcast by WLON (1050AM, 107.5FM) and also available on Tune-In.
The East Burke @ West Lincoln game will be on YouTube. [On YouTube, find ktcbroadcasting.com/East Burke @ West Lincoln]
The Cherryville @ Burns game will be on WCSL (1590AM, 92.9FM) and online at ktcbroadcasting.com.
The East Gaston @ Shelby game will be on WOHS (1390AM, 101.5FM) and online at ktcbroadcasting.com.
The Newton-Conover @ Bunker Hill game will be on WNNC (1230AM, 101.3FM) and online at https://wnncradio.com/football/.
The East Lincoln @ North Iredell and North Lincoln @ West Iredell games will both be on NFHS (subscription required).
The Lincoln Herald will provide updates of games in progress Friday evening.