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Originally published: 2012-10-31 10:44:49
Last modified: 2012-10-31 10:46:04

Vikings jousts with Lake Norman Charter in playoff football opener

Jamie Shell / (sports@averyjournal.com)

Following a thrilling 13-6 win in The AJT Border Battle Classic at MacDonald Stadium against Mitchell last week, the Avery Vikings qualified for the NCHSAA 1AA state football playoffs. Avery enters as a No. 13 overall seed and No. 6 seed in the West region. The Vikings travel to Huntersville to take on the Lake Norman Charter School Knights, who finished with only one loss during its first-ever winning season. The Knights dispatched Highland Tech 52-7 in its regular-season finale last week.

Scouting the Knights

Lake Norman Charter (9-1 overall, 6-1 conference record) is coached by Bob McKay and is a member of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference. The school is only in its fifth year of existence, with its football teams playing its third season of high school football.
The Knights utilize a pistol offense and implement a 5-3 base defensive scheme, while the team celebrated its first winning season in 2012 following a 6-6 record in 2011 that included its first-ever state playoff berth.

A total of 17 lettermen, including nine starters on offense and eight starters on defense, has bolstered the Knights' roster, as many players that were part of the team's first-ever season have matured in the program and helped lead it to an historic campaign.

On the field, junior quarterback Michael Dorsainvil triggers the Knights offense. The six-foot, 175-pound signal-caller has passed for 1,458 yards and 21 touchdowns with just two interceptions this season. He has added 49 carries for 207 yards and six rushing scores.

Senior teammate Tripp Smith (six-feet, one-inch, 175 pounds) leads the team's rushing attack, gaining 832 yards on 105 carries, with 10 touchdowns, while sophomore LaMarcus Smith-Kelly toted the football 38 times for 351 yards with four touchdowns.

The key player that sparks the Lake Norman Charter engine is senior wide receiver Alex Scearce. The do-it-all skill player is second on the team in rushing with 464 yards on 41 carries with nine touchdowns, and leads the club in every significant receiving category, with 30 receptions for 771 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Other receivers contributing to the offense include Petey Fabian (14 receptions for 211 yards, five touchdowns) and Jamon Cunningham (13 receptions for 221 yards, three touchdowns).

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jake Massey leads the club in tackles with 82, followed closely behind by junior linebacker Austin Calton with 81 tackles, including 53 solo tackles to lead the team.Senior lineman Conner Peterson leads LNC in sacks this season with four, while the tandem of Scearse and senior cornerback Cameron Krueger are tied for the team lead in interceptions with four apiece.

The low down

Avery is a prohibitive underdog in this week's playoff matchup in Huntersville, as the Knights have had its best season in its brief program history. For the Vikings to pull off the victory on the road, it must limit the effectiveness of Scearce. As the talented receiver goes, so goes the Knights in most cases this season.

Offensively, the Knights will likely not have competed against a team that uses the variety of offensive formations that the Vikings can potentially implement against them. That said, Avery must still take care of the football and commit as few turnovers as possible to give it a fighting chance.

The Big Red defense played effectively and with passion in last week's win against Mitchell, limiting the Mountaineers to just six points and 139 total yards. Lake Norman Charter will be a more athletic and faster club, however, than the Mountaineers, as it has scored a minimum of 30 points in each game it has played this season.

By the numbers

1 - pass completion in four attempts by the Vikings in last week's win against Mitchell
3 - touchdowns by Alex Scearce in last week's LNC victory
12 - tackles by AHS senior Tyler Whittington, a season-high total for the linebacker
40 - rushing attempts by Avery in its 13-6 win against Mitchell last week
49 - first-half points scored by Lake Norman Charter in its 52-7 win against Highland Tech last week, including 34 points in the first quarter
826 - rushing yards for Vikings senior running back Luke Childress this season