East Lincoln remained undefeated Friday night, and its defense shined once again in a 28-7 Western Foothills Athletic Conference victory at Statesville.
The Mustangs spent a lot of time in the Greyhounds’ backfield, dominating the offensive line and making nine tackles resulting in negative yards.
“Their front four was getting through there but there were plays to be made,” Statesville coach Rydell Cowan said. “We’re a zone team. When they’re crashing like that (the quarterback) has got to pull it.”
Opponents have managed only 27 points in five games against East Lincoln (5-0, 2-0), which now appears to be the clear frontrunner in the race for the conference championship.
Players of the game
East Lincoln running back Christopher Daley II and defensive end Marcel Johnson were named the N.C. Farm Bureau Insurance Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game, respectively.
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Daley finished with 106 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Johnson had three tackles for loss totaling negative-22 yards, and he also had a sack for a 10-yard loss.
East Lincoln put together an 80-yard scoring drive on the game’s opening possession.
Quarterback Tyler Mizzell threw to Markell Clark in the back of the end zone, and Clark came down with the ball for a 20-yard touchdown reception. It was 8-0 Mustangs with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first quarter after Clark added a two-point conversion run.
The Mustangs scored on their other first-quarter possession. Mizzell’s 38-yard strike to Keandre Walker moved the ball to the Statesville 33. Riley Shropshire caught a pass for 22 yards that advanced the ball to the 15. Daley ran the ball into the end zone from the 10 moments later, and East Lincoln led 15-0.
Special teams got in on the action as well. East Lincoln blocked a punt early in the second quarter. The ball went forward about 10 yards where Walker alertly scooped the ball off the bounce at the 50-yard line and proceeded to return it for a touchdown.
That made it 21-0 Mustangs with 9:25 remaining in the half.
BY THE NUMBERS
Mizzell finished 11 of 23 passing for 106 yards and one TD.
Statesville managed only 70 yards of total offense. Justin Davidson had 38 yards on eight carries. Phoenix Lawrence, who was under duress most of the night, had 61 passing yards. His 21-yard hookup with Jaylen Himes midway through the fourth quarter moved the ball to the East Lincoln 2. Lawrence scored on a 1-yard run shortly after to break up the shutout.
Titus Myers and JaQuez Robinson each intercepted Mizzell in the fourth quarter.
Statesville (2-3, 1-1) travels to Newton on Sept. 30 looking to bounce back against Fred T. Foard.
“I told (our players) to enjoy the weekend and come Monday we will be making some personnel changes,” Cowan said, noting that might include calling up some junior varsity players.
East Lincoln returns home Sept. 30 to take on West Iredell.
EL—Markell Clark 20 pass from Tyler Mizzell (Clark run), 8:28.
EL—Christopher Daley II 10 run (Helmut Rojas kick), :07.7.
EL—Keandre Walker blocked punt return (run failed), 9:25.
EL—Daley 4 run (Rojas kick), 4:08.
S—Phoenix Lawrence 1 run (Sam Buckner kick), 6:58.