FOOTBALL: Despite a down year, three Gaston players are honored by league coaches

Lyn Lumley is trying to build a culture of success on the football field in Gaston. In his first year guiding the program, the Greyhounds won only one game, but an exciting, wide-open offense sparked fan interest and drew the respect of fellow Northwest League coaches.

That respect landed three Gaston players on the annual All-League team, which was released earlier this month.

'Nobody could shut us out,' Lumley said of the Greyhounds' proficient offense, which averaged over 350 yards per game. 'The other coaches [in the league] said, 'You guys have got some kind of offense. If you ever get a defense you're going to be pretty tough to beat.''

Gaston's spread-option attack was fine tuned to the skills of senior quarterback Ryan Lewis, who expertly piloted the offense and was rewarded with a First Team All-League selection.

'He's a phenomenal kid,' Lumley said of Lewis. 'He came in here this summer and picked up the offense really quick. I'm more of a smashmouth guy by nature. I like to line it up and pound the ball, but after I saw Ryan I knew that we had to run the spread. He's that good.'

Lewis completed 52 percent of his passes (144 for 277) for a league-high 1,876 yards. He threw nine touchdown passes on the season.

Lumley said that even though Lewis' numbers were off the charts, he wasn't sure the Hounds would get any First Team All-League selections since the team went 1-8 overall and 0-4 in league play, including a forfeit loss to Corbett when off-the-field troubles depleted the roster.

'We were pleasantly surprised considering how we did and that we forfeited a game,' Lumley said. 'We figured we probably wouldn't get any votes from Corbett, so I was pretty happy with it overall.'

Lewis was also one of four Northwest League players nominated for the annual Shrine Bowl. Rosters will be selected on Jan. 27 and the game will be played in August.

Also earning All-League honors were wide receiver Parker Bolden and defensive end Nick Delplanche. Both were Second Team selections.

Bolden had a team-high 78 receptions for 893 yards and five touchdowns. He also led the team with 65 solo tackles and 87 assists.

'Parker has great hands,' Lumley said. 'He didn't drop many balls - maybe only two or three all season. He was our most dependable receiver.'

Delplanche, despite being undersized at 160 pounds, proved to be a ferocious defender. He led the Greyhounds' defense with 13 sacks, 12 of which came in the team's four league games. The junior defensive end also had eight tackles for loss.

'Nick kind of turned it on after the Neah-Kah-Nie game,' Lumley said. 'He's got good speed. He's really fast and tough to block.'

Although all three players are seniors, Lumley is still excited for the future of Gaston football.

'We're trying to build something special here and this was the first step toward that,' he said. 'I think we're going to be real tough in a couple years.'

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