Our Red Devils will travel to Harlem this Friday to take on the Class AAA Bulldogs, but the rivalry was much more intense about 30 years ago.
Harlem was a perennial region contender in Region 4-AA when Lincoln County moved up a class in 1978. Our Devils won the 1978 matchup 21-0 in Lincolnton. The Bulldogs were looking for revenge the following year at their field in downtown Harlem, but our Devils again won decisively, 20-0.
After that game, Harlem coach Carl Brooks suggested Lincolnton was the kind of place that legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant would like to go when he died.
Back then, regions could have up to 2 rounds of playoffs before the 3 rounds of state playoffs started. Harlem thought they might have a better chance a month later in Lincolnton, but they didn't - LC won 31-6.
The Devils would win a squeaker in 1980, 13-6 in Harlem. The Bulldogs finally got a taste of revenge the following year as Harlem defeated our Devils twice in Lincolnton: 17-6 during the regular season and 21-12 in the playoffs. That first loss ended a 6-year string of home wins for the Devils. (By the way, our Devil fans came prepared the following year with a homemade cannon, and LC won 28-6 to begin a streak of 8 wins. Lincoln County will try to make it 9 in a row this Friday.
The series dates back to Lincolnton's first year of football, 1922, but the two schools wouldn't play again until 1959.
Red Devils vs Harlem series: LC leads 20-8
Harlem info (including map to stadium) at FFN