BUDDY BUFFORD FIELD, LINCOLNTON - Lincoln County's defense rejected Hephzibah's last minute touchdown pass attempt to preserve a 22-16 win here Friday night.
Rusty Scott knocked the last pass attempt into the backfield to see the win with 21 seconds left. After an interception in their endzone, the Rebels had driven from their 20 to the LC 8, where they faced a 3rd-&-6 with about a minute left. The Devil Defense stuffed the Rebels best running back for a one-yard loss, setting up the final air effort.
Hephzibah had not given up a point in their first 2 games this season, but our Red Devils quickly ended that scoreless streak. A. G. Middlebrooks broke a 40-yard run to the Rebel 18 before Tavious McGahee went up the middle untouched for the score only 1:33 into the game. Walker Smith add the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Hephzibah muffed the following kickoff with the Devils recovering at the Rebel 13. A 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked to end the threat.
Early in the second Hephzibah's German exchange student booted the first of three field goals to narrow the lead to 7-3. Jathan Mickens intercepted a Rebel pass two minutes later. Facing a 4th-&-10 at the Rbel 26, Franklin Sherman connected with Middlebrooks on a slant screen pass for 26 yards and another Devil TD. Smith's PAT just got over the bar for his eighth straight good kick since the season began.
Hephzibah broke a 70-yard kickoff return, but the Devils stopped the runner at the 9. Three plays netted not an inch, and the Rebels added another field goal to their point total. After a Devil punt, another field goal cut the Devils' lead to 14-9 as the first half drew to a close.
Garrett Mohr's great punting put the Rebels at their 1 early in the 3rd quarter. A holding penalty in the endzone resulted in a safety, increasing our Devils' lead to 16-9. Middlebrooks darted for 45 yards and a Devil TD with 8:28 left in the third quarter. The PAT kick hit the horizontal bar and bounced into the endzone for the Devils' first miss of 2009.
The teams went through a series of exchanges, with the Rebels punting twice and the Devils fumbling twice. The last one was at the LC 14, which setup a QB sneak for the touchdown very early in the fourth. The PAT kick cut the lead to 22-16. Middlebrooks rambled for another 35 yards, and two personal foul penalties moved the Devils deep into Rebel territory. An interception ended the threat with 7:30 left, but the Rebels fumbled back to the Devils 9 seconds later. Another interception in the endzone with 5:33 would setup the Rebels last drive.
Lincoln County will host Abbeville next Friday night. Abbeville lost to SC Class AA power Woodruff 36-35 on a late two-point conversion.
[Chronicle game story]