Prep Insider Blog

Lincoln County high school football previews

Lincolnton High coach Ledford Gibson returns a strong team heading into the 2017 season
Lincolnton High coach Ledford Gibson returns a strong team heading into the 2017 season dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Here are Lincoln County high school football previews, as compiled by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards

PREVIEW LINKS

Preseason All-State Team Released

Observer-area County previews

2017 high school football schedules

EAST LINCOLN

Head Coach: David Lubowicz (1st year as East Lincoln head football coach; 11th year on staff).

2016 Record (Conference): 11-3 (5-2 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 10 (6 offense; 4 defense).

Returning Lettermen: 16

Key Returning Starters: Chandler Jones, Sr., RB (5-11, 175); Sidney Dollar, Jr., WR (6-3, 175); Ryan Matz, Sr., DL (6-4, 240); Devan Rigdon, Sr., OL (5-11, 285).

Key Newcomers: Tavon Johnson, Jr., LB/WR (6-0, 175); Blake Shope, Jr., WR/DB (6-0, 160).

Outlook: East Lincoln has won 65 games and two state championships in the last five years, which is tough pace to maintain. But former, Mustang defensive coordinator, first-year, East Lincoln head coach, David Lubowicz (been on East Lincoln staff 11 years), looks to carry on the tradition as conference and state contender. East Lincoln has found a way to replace great players in the past and will have to do again in the new South Fork 2A conference with senior RB, Chandler Jones, junior, WR/DB Sidney Dollar, DL Ryan Matz (14 sacks) and OL/DL Devan Rigdon playing lead roles this season.

--JAY EDWARDS

LINCOLNTON

Head Coach: Ledford Gibson (3rd year as Lincolnton football coach/25-5 at Lincolnton).

2016 Record (Conference): 13-2 (6-1 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 9 (4 offense; 5 defense).

Returning Lettermen: 12

Key Returning Starters: Tyreke Hollis, Sr., DB/WR; Parker Gaines, Sr., OL/DL (6-4, 290); Skylar Evans, Sr., DB/WR (6-2, 180); Tyshaun Harris, Sr., RB/DB (5-11, 185); Terrell McClain, Sr., DB/TE (6-0, 210); Johnny Araya, Sr., OL/DL (5-10, 270); Mauricio Lazano, Sr., OL/DL (5-11, 235).

Key Newcomers: Mickey McGrisken, So., LB (6-0, 170); Tyler Duncan, So., RB/LB (6-0, 165); Brent Franklin, Jr., OL/LB (6-0, 200); Mikivi Phinx, So., DB/WR (6-1, 165).

Outlook: Lincolnton was one win short of playing in the 2A state championship game for the second straight season. The Wolves have some big names to replace in all-state performers, WR Sage Surratt (Wake Forest), QB Cordell Littlejohn (moved to Georgia). But Coach Ledford Gibson, who has won 25 games in two seasons in charge, also returns some dynamic playmakers, led by the senior, all-conference quartet of DB/WR Tyreke Hollis, OL/DL Parker Gaines, DB/WR Skylar Evans and RB/DB Tyshaun Harris, which gives the Wolves a good chance to conference and state contenders again in 2017.

--JAY EDWARDS

NORTH LINCOLN

Head Coach: Steven Pack (1st year as North Lincoln football coach).

2016 Record (Conference): 2-9 (2-5 in the North Piedmont conference 3A/4A (NPC)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A.

Returning Starters: 8 (5 offense; 3 defense).

Returning Lettermen: 22

Key Returning Starters: Caleb Holley, Sr., WR/FS (6-0, 190); Reed McCrorie, Sr., QB (6-2, 180); Austin Blackburn, Sr., OL (6-3, 275); Jacob Soorus, So., RB/WR/DB (5-10, 185); David Schmerber, Sr., LB (6-1, 200).

Key Newcomers: Deakwon Camp, Sr., DB (5-11, 160) (Davidson Day transfer); Matt McMahan, Sr., LB (6-2, 200); Clayton Cribb, Jr., RB/LB (5-11, 190); Jacob Harman, Jr., LB (6-1, 190); Hunter Sharp, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 270).

Outlook: Offensive-minded, first-year coach, Steven Pack looks to breathe new life into a Knights

--JAY EDWARDS

WEST LINCOLN

Head Coach: Tom Sain (8th year as West Lincoln football coach/37-45 at West Lincoln).

2016 Record (Conference): 5-7 (2-5 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017 Conference: South Fork 2A conference.

Returning Starters: 10

Returning Lettermen: 30

Key Returning Starters: Seth Willis, Jr., QB/DB (6-2, 175); Nakathan Phansook, Jr., RB/LB (6-1, 170); Nathan Hull, Jr., RB/DB (5-9, 160); Tyler Cunningham, Sr., RB/DB (5-6, 160); Brandon Ikard, Sr., RB/DB (5-10, 165); Colby Varner, Sr., WR/DB (6-2, 160); Brock Steele, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 265); Dalton Burris, Sr., OL/DL (6-3, 265); Drew Saine, Jr., OL/LB (5-9, 210); Trey Bryan, Jr., WR/DB (6-2, 160).

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Rebels have had only two winning seasons in Coach Tom Sain

--JAY EDWARDS

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