MOORESVILLE—Pine Lake Prep’s loss was Lake Norman’s gain.
The Wildcats added transfer Kris Petroski to their football roster this season, and the senior running back hasn’t disappointed. He leads the team in all-purpose yards (296) and total touchdowns (five) through the first three games.
“Truthfully, he gives us another weapon,” Lake Norman coach Jonathan Oliphant said.
Will Gordon led the Wildcats’ rushing attack a year ago as a junior, and he returned to the backfield. Now the Wildcats have two if not more ball carriers that can move the chains.
And with Gordon having to double some at cornerback on defense, Oliphant highlighted the importance of the depth that Petroski provides.
No complaints from Petroski on the change of scenery.
“I love it,” he said. “Everything is great.”
Nothing was great about the way his three-year stint at Pine Lake Prep ended last fall.
Petroski looked to build on a solid 2017 campaign when the then-sophomore rushed for 894 yards and nine touchdowns and averaged five yards per carry.
He had 668 yards and 12 touchdowns on 96 carries entering the seventh game. He shattered his right leg against Highland Tech. Broken fibula and tibia as well as an ankle dislocation. That ended his 2018 season prematurely. Consequently, the Pride lost its last four games and missed the state playoffs.
Petroski said he was “blessed to have a good surgeon,” but the nature of the injury required half a year just to heal, delaying rehabilitation.
Eventually physical therapy cleared the way for him to train and lift weights.
He transferred to Lake Norman in December of his junior year.
“That gave him the whole offseason with us, which was a big plus,” said Oliphant, who praised Petroski’s work ethic. “It also allowed him and his teammates to bond, although he already knew and played with some of these guys growing up.
“He’s been nothing but perfect.”
Averaging 6.4 yards per carry like the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder is, that will help get the job done. The Wildcats are 2-1 entering Friday’s game at North Iredell (0-3). They could still be unbeaten if not for a poor third quarter during a 34-21 loss to Statesville in Week 2. “We came out flat,” Petroski said.
They redeemed themselves last week, routing South Iredell in Viking Valley, 49-21.
Lake Norman’s run-first, flexbone triple option offense produced four long Anthony Limon touchdown passes.
Petroski hauled in a pair of 70-yard TD strikes.
“I didn’t expect that,” he said.
Limon targeted Petroski down field on both scoring tosses, and Petroski managed to take contact from the South Iredell defense, maintain his balance and sprint to the end zone.
“He’s a big boy, and he works hard in the weight room,” Oliphant said. “You’ve got to make plays when they are there. He did, catching a couple of nice passes from Anthony and then turning on the burners.”
Petroski said moving from a 1A football school like Pine Lake Prep to a 4A football school like Lake Norman has him determined to work harder at his craft.
Oliphant likes what he sees and believes the future is bright.
“He’s good for us,” Oliphant said, “and I think he’ll be a good player for someone at the next level.”