MOORESVILLE – Will Gordon had one thing on his mind as he stood near his own goal line and awaited the opening kickoff against North Iredell back on Sept. 7.

“We’ve got a new scoreboard,” Gordon said. “Let’s light it up.”

The Lake Norman High junior did just that on a 99-yard touchdown return that gave the Wildcats an early lead and set the tone in an eventual 39-6 non-conference win over the Raiders.

Gordon has brought that kind of big-play, quick-hit ability to the Wildcats this year, after transferring from South Iredell, where he played two varsity seasons, primarily on defense. Prior to arriving at Lake Norman, Gordon knew many of his Wildcats teammates from their days playing together at Lakeshore Middle, so the transition has been a smooth one.

“He’s a great kid,” Lake Norman coach Jonathan Oliphant said. “He is just fun to be around, a yes-sir kid who is always smiling. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him.”

Gordon is mostly lining up at running back, where he ran 11 times for 102 yards and two scores against North Iredell. With 348 yards in four games, he’s averaging 5 yards per carry.

And, as noted, he’s a weapon in the kicking game as well. On the 99-yard return, Gordon caught the football and angled to his right, where he saw blockers open a hole for him. As he cut upfield, Oliphant was excited to see “green grass and a fast guy” wearing Wildcat colors.

“He hit the hole well,” Oliphant said. “He’s got great vision.”

Once Gordon picked his route, there was no catching him. Like he did on that play and in general against the Raiders, Gordon wants to spark the Wildcats to more success when the schedule resumes Sept. 21 at West Charlotte. From there, every game on the calendar features an opponent from the I-Meck 4A. It’s time for conference play, and the Wildcats will be counting on Gordon for more than his stats and occasional big play.

“He’s a leader,” Oliphant said. “He holds his teammates accountable.”

That kind of leadership is something the Wildcats coach is proud to see from a player in his first year leading the program. It’s not just Gordon doing it, either. It’s a lot of guys.

“The kids want to be good,” Oliphant said. “And they’re doing the things we need to do to be good. I expect excellence.”

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