Monday, September 24, 2007

Gaston, Lincoln updates

Here's a look at what going on in Gaston and Lincoln County football, one week into the conference season:

Three things making news:

1. Ashbrook. The Green Wave stunned the rest of the Big South 3A/4A conference with its 35-17 win at Crest Friday. This week, Ashbrook (3-3) will get another test when it faces 5-1 North Gaston.

2. Cherryville. The Ironmen have had only one winning season since 1978, but Cherryville is already 4-1 this season. Quarterback Cameron Lovelace returns Friday against Highland Tech after a one-game absence, and Cherryville will be a big favorite for its fifth win.

3. East Gaston's reunion: The Warriors will see a familiar face Friday when they play at Kings Mountain. Former coach Greg Lloyd is now at Kings Mountain, but the move hasn't benefitted either team yet. The two schools are a combined 1-9 this season.

Three games to watch Friday:

1. North Gaston at Ashbrook:
North Gaston crushed Hunter Huss behind seven touchdowns from running back Princeton Brooks, but the Ashbrook defense shut down Crest in the second half last week. The Green Wave had an effective pass rush last week, but North Gaston quarterback A.J. Blue won't get rattled with defenders in his face.

2. Crest at Forestview: Crest players were angry after losing to Ashbrook Friday night, but the Chargers have to put that behind them. Forestview is the surprise team in the Big South 3A/4A, winning three of its first five games after a 1-10 season in 2006. But the Jaguars must slow down Crest running back Ryan Black to keep their conference title hopes alive.

3. East Lincoln at Lincolnton: East Lincoln mustered only seven points against North Lincoln last week, and must win to stay in the conference hunt. Lincolnton running back C.J. Wilson scored three touchdowns Friday, and is starting to return to his play in 2005, when he led the Wolves to the 2A state championship game.

Three bold predictions:

1. South Point quarterback Desmond Lowery
will challenge North Gaston's A.J. Blue for Big South 3A/4A conference player of the year. Lowery and the South Point offense have overwhelmed their first five opponents, and the Red Raiders' game against North Gaston Oct. 26 could determine the conference winner and player of the year.

2. North Lincoln will set a school record for wins. The Knights are 5-1 this season, and should win at least nine games this season. That would be the most for the Lincoln County school, which opened in 2003.

3. West Lincoln will miss the playoffs. The Rebels (1-5) still have games with conference favorites East Lincoln, Lincolnton and North Lincoln left, and would likely need four wins to qualify for the playoffs.