After a difficult loss to rival Maiden last week on the road, the Newton-Conover football team tries to regain momentum when it hosts West Lincoln tonight.
Red Devil head coach Brint Russell said the fallout from his team’s defeat last week has been difficult.
“Maiden took a lot of wind out of our sails so to speak,” he said. “It’s been tough at practice this week trying to regroup for a very good West Lincoln team coming in here. We went back and reviewed the film. We felt like we put a good game plan together and had an opportunity to win the game last week. We just made too many errors. It’s hard to win with seven turnovers. We had an opportunity last week to have even 11 turnovers during the game. We brushed that game away and put it behind us. Right now, our goals are simple. We are trying to continue to fight and battle to get ready for the possibility of winning a conference championship, which still can be attained.”
The Red Devils are battling a number of different issues, including injuries at key positions.
Linebacker/fullback Jordan Martin is out for the year after breaking his leg on the fourth play of the game last week against Maiden.
Martin broke part of his tibia and his patella tendon also pulled apart from the bone.
“He is the epitome of what toughness and fighting for his team is all about,” Russell said. “That’s Jordan Martin.”
Newton-Conover will also be without many of its players because of various violations of team rules.
The Red Devils will only dress 17 varsity players tonight with several junior varsity players being brought up to the main roster.
Russell would not comment any further on the suspensions, including who will not be playing Friday night.
After splitting snaps with Thomas Corpening at quarterback last week, Cameron Stanley will start for Newton-Conover under center this week.
Russell said on Thursday that Corpening, a senior, is “no longer on our team.”
The Red Devils are also shifting their offensive scheme from the triple option to more of an I-formation-type offense.
“We are moving to the I now so we are going to emphasize running the ball a little bit more and throwing it with Cameron at quarterback,” Russell said. “Nick (Baker) should be the workhorse of that type of offense and will be. It’s a good thing if you are Nick Baker going to the I because that gives you the opportunity to touch the ball more, where as in the triple option he had to get a pitch off of a read to get the ball. Now, he is guaranteed to touch the football more. As a coach, that doesn't’ make me mad.”
West Lincoln has been extremely competitive in conference play so far this season, taking Lincolnton to the limit in a 21-13 loss at home two weeks ago.
The Rebels defeated Bunker Hill on the road this past Friday night, 20-16.
“They are extremely physical,” Russell said of West Lincoln. “They play until the whistle blows. They are very big up front. They run a misdirection, Wing-T type offense that is hard to read sometimes as a defensive player. Defensively, they are extremely physical and get after it. The thing they have on us going into this Friday’s game due to injuries and kids being suspended for multiple games from our team is numbers. They will definitely have experience against us.”
The last time the Red Devils faced the Rebels was on Oct. 8, 2004.
That year, Newton-Conover defeated West Lincoln, 7-6, and went on to finish the season with a 2-9 overall record.
Russell is hoping for a positive result in this year’s contest.
“We’ve got to control the line of scrimmage,” he said. “They are very and physical up front, which is one of the few blessings we have. We still have size up front and plenty of it. Our size is gotta match their size physicality-wise.”