Game of the Week: Lincolnton (4-0) @ West Lincoln (2-2): Both teams will come in well-rested after a bye week. The Rebels are off to a hot 4-0 start while Lincolnton has struggled and are at 2-2. But their two losses came against undefeated teams, South Point (5-0) and North Gaston (4-0). West Lincoln has not faced a team with a winning record, though. They faced one-win teams in Draughn (1-4), North Lincoln (1-3), Cherryville (1-4) and a winless Fred T. Foard team. The Wolves will bring a different challenge for the Rebels as they travel to take on their county rivals.
My pick: Lincolnton 27 – West Lincoln 20
Lake Norman Charter (5-0) @ Forestview (3-1): The Jaguars open conference play with Lake Norman Charter rolling into town. The Knights bring a 5-0 record to Joe Alala Stadium. But their five teams have a combined 5-18 record. Two of them haven’t won a game. The Jaguars, prior to their bye week, knocked off defending 2A state champ East Lincoln 44-27. The Jaguars, however, will miss two key starters and head coach Chris Medlin for tonight’s conference opener. But the Jaguars, having been a little more battle-tested in two of their games should still have the edge.
My pick: Forestview 42 – Lake Norman Charter 21
Hunter Huss (1-4) @ North Gaston (4-0): The Records look lopsided, but one has to consider a couple of things. The Huskies have played a more strenuous nonconference schedule. Three of Huss’s toughest teams (Vance, Rocky River and Burns) have a combined record of 18-2. Nobody on North Gaston’s schedule has a solid winning record. Lincolnton (2-2) is the only team in that group that is at .500. The Wildcats bring a strong triple-option running attack to the table as they host Huss. The Huskies bring a solid passing game to Trudnak Stadium. This one should be a real tight ball game.
My pick: Hunter Huss 28 – North Gaston 21
East Gaston (0-4) @ South Point (5-0): This game could get ugly quick. The Warriors are coming off a 19-14 loss to a previously winless Cherryville squad. They were plagued with seven turnovers last week and have also been hit hard with injuries. It does not help them that they have to travel to face a red-hot South Point team for their traditional “Black Friday” matchup.
My pick: South Point 56 – East Gaston 0
Ashbrook (2-2) @ Cuthbertson (2-3): These two teams are heading in opposite directions. Cuthbertson started the season 2-0, but lost their last three games. On the other hand, Ashbrook started 0-2, but won their final two games prior to last week’s bye week. Cuthbertson is coming off their worst loss of the season, a 57-28 drubbing to Forest Hills.
My pick: Ashbrook 35 – Cuthbertson 21
Cherryville (1-4) @ Parkwood (2-3): Cherryville got their first win of the year last week as they took down East Gaston. But Parkwood will be on a different level than East Gaston.
My pick: Parkwood 34 – Cherryville 14
East Lincoln (3-1) @ Bandys (2-2): East Lincoln had their 19-game winning streak snapped two weeks ago as they dropped a 44-27 game to Forestview. Now coming off their bye week, the Mustangs are looking for a fresh start as they open up conference play with Bandys. The Trojans are looking to snap their two-game losing streak, but the Mustangs may prove too much for them.
My pick: East Lincoln 34 – Bandys 20
South Iredell (4-0) @ North Lincoln (1-3): After losing two tough games to county rivals, Lincolnton and West Lincoln, and being blown out by East Lincoln 34-7, the Knights got their first win of the season against Bessemer City a couple weeks ago. But the Knights welcome the 2012 2A state champion, South Iredell, to start conference play. The Vikings have not shown any signs of slowing down either as they are coming off a 56-0 beating of Salisbury.
My pick: South Iredell 42 – North Lincoln 7
Burns (5-0) @ East Burke (1-3): The Bulldogs survived a scare last week as they escaped Kings Mountain 20-15. The Mountaineers led 15-14 with just a minute or so left. The Bulldogs should not have much of a problem as they travel to East Burke.
My pick: Burns 48 – East Burke 6
Shelby (3-2) @ Kings Mountain (2-3): The “Battle of Buffalo” is still alive and well. Shelby won last year’s battle 14-7. That game was also in Kings Mountain. The Mountaineers do not want to lose two in a row at home to their rival. They are also trying to stop a three-game losing skid. They almost overtook conference favorite, Burns, last week as they held a brief 15-14 lead. But the Bulldogs ended up scoring last to win 20-15. The Golden Lions enter this game on a two-game winning streak. Prior to that, they lost two straight. One of those was to South Point, a game which Shelby led 24-14 before losing. This game could go either way.
My pick: Shelby 24 – Kings Mountain 21
Crest (3-1) @ R-S Central (1-3): The Chargers started the season with a 35-16 loss to South Point, but have won three straight since then. R-S Central has had a rough year so far and this could be another long night for the Hilltoppers.
My pick: Crest 42 – R-S Central 14
Highland Tech (0-4) @ Southlake Christian (5-0): Not a favorable matchup for a team still seeking their first win since 2009. This is the second unbeaten team the Rams have faced in three weeks.
My pick: Southlake Christian 50 – Highland Tech 6