2022 Legion preview for Cherryville, Cleveland County, Gaston Braves, Gastonia, Lincoln County

By Richard Walker

Cherryville American Legion Post 100 finished two wins shy of a N.C. American Legion title last year and returns a youthful, but talented team in hopes of getting another shot a state championship.

Cherryville is projected to be the area’s best bet to advance to the 2022 state tournament that will be played at Campbell University in late July.

But the other four local programs – Cleveland County Post 82-155, Gaston Braves Post 144-266, Gastonia Post 23 and Lincoln County Post 455 – have varying degrees of optimism as they enter a season that actually began in mid-May.

With high school playoffs still ongoing, schedules are still being planned.

North Carolina Area IV play begins playoff competition on July 2.

The Western Division is comprised of Cherryville and Cleveland along Asheville Post 70, Burke County Post 21, Caldwell County Post 29, Henderson County Post 77, Hickory Post 48 and Rutherford County Post 423.

The Eastern Division is comprised of the Gaston Braves, Gastonia and Lincoln County along with Matthews Post 235, Mint Hill Post 555, Pineville Post 337, Queen City and Statesville Post 113.

Here’s a look at the area’s five teams:

Cherryville Post 100
2021 record: 22-6 (Area IV champion, tie for 3rd in N.C.)
Head coach: Bobby Reynolds (30th year 741-331, 35th overall 833-384)
Assistant coaches: Drew Reynolds, A.J. Henley, Dalton Pence
Roster (listed by high school): Burns – Reid Stroupe, Joseph Webb, Cherryville – Will Fowler, Landon Hahn, Will Heavner, Collin Huss, Chase Miller, Tobias Miller, Collin Robinson, Kanon Willis, Kings Mountain – Zane Brockman, Ethan Gay, Jacob Hamrick, Cole Irby, Colton Mayes, Lincolnton – Will Blackburn, North Gaston – Ashton Pope, West Lincoln – Taylor Cook, Noah Gantt, Noah Huss, Landon Jenkins.

Cleveland County Post 82-155
2021 record: 10-7 (Area IV 2nd round)
Head coach: Charlie Ruff (1st year)
Assistant coach: Brett Wease
Roster (listed by high school): Burns – Colby Putnam, Haydin Smith, Combine Academy – Isaiah Lowe, Crest – Cole Drewery, Connor Gantt, Porter Hall, Ethan Hayes, Colby Humphries, Jackson Ledbetter, Tucker McSwain, Tyler Smart, Kings Mountain – Boone Cartee, Peyton Fisher, Devin Pressley, A.J. Wylie, Shelby – Parker Dixon, Ryan Emery, Steven Spaes, Thomas Jefferson – Ben Flontek, Zac Flontek.

Gaston Post 144-266
2021 record: 10-10 (Area IV 2nd round)
Head coach: Kenneth Pasour (1st year)
Assistant coaches: Zach Bumgarner, Michael Heffner, Brad Mulkey
Roster (listed by high school): Cramer – Garrison Carpenter, Julian Hall, Hunter Reavis, East Gaston – Logan Agosta, Parker Agosta, Liam Brady, Caleb Burr, Jaxon Cogdill, Riley Hawkins, Daniel Howell, Daniel McClellan, Gaston Christian – Aaron Main, David Nicks, Andrew Payton, Chase Stewart, Highland Tech – Gavin Blackwood, Lincoln Charter – Donovan Davis, South Point – Dylan Owenby, Ethan Simmons.

Gastonia Post 23
2021 record: 3-11 (Area IV 1st round)
Head coach: Josh Cobb (10th year 102-97-2)
Assistant coaches: Jordan Beaver, Jim Faulkner, Dalton Towery
Roster (listed by high school): Ashbrook – Brayden Auten, Chandler Meeks, Cramerton Christian – Parker Curell, Forestview – Carson Adams, Ethan Bray, Josh Clanton, Tripp Dow, Landon Jenkins, Jesse Osborne, Austin Parker, Highland Tech – Blake Bostic, Huss – Mason Swann, North Gaston – James Lemley, Jairo Osio, Chase Sharpe, Nate Williams, Austin Wood, Kandan Zollo, Piedmont Community Charter – Liam Whaley.

Lincoln County Post 455
2021 record: 7-5 (Area IV 2nd round)
Head coach: Bruce Bolick (31st year 283-416, 32nd year overall 289-427)
Assistant coaches: Mitchell Keener, Hap Smith, Brandon Strupp
Roster (listed by high school): Bandys – Terick Bumgarner, East Lincoln – Cade Doolittle, Eli McCall, Andrew Wayne, Gaston Day – Elijah Pomeroy, Hopewell – Peyton Mincey, Lincolnton – Caden Smith, Sam Carpenter, Garrett Hedgepeth, North Lincoln – Trace Duglowski, Reece Moody, Landon Reeves, Timmy Schafer, Maddux Walker.