HARLEM - Lincoln County improved its record to 2-1 with a 42-7 win over Class AAA's Harlem Bulldogs. Ercell Daniel scored twice on one-yard runs.
Mason Saggus continued his excellent year at receiver with 3 catches for 59 yards and one TD. That doesn't include a 60-yard catch-and-scamper on the first play from scrimmage that was nullified by a illegal procedure flag.
The Devils totaled 318 yards in offense, doubling that of the Bulldoga. Lincoln County youngsters played most of the second half and allowed the Harlem TD and most of the Bulldog yardage. The Jones boys led the Devils in rushing: Sherrod with 8 carries for 70 yards and Craig with 5 for 51 and a TD.
LC came up a yard short of a first down at midfield on its first possession. Punter Garrett Mohr backed the Dogs up to their 10. The Devil Defense then backed Harlem up 7 more yards, forcing a punt from their endzone.
The punt was short, giving the Devils the ball at the Harlem 30. Daniel gained 10 yards on two carries. The Devils then lost 4 on a fumble and five on a sack to face 4th-and-19 at the 29. Franklin Sherman connected with Saggus, who then put a big hit on a Bulldog to reach the 4. Craig Jones gained 3 before Daniel scored from the 1 with 5:33 remaining in the opening quarter.
Sherman proved he can catch as well as he can throw when he intercepted a Harlem pass and returned it to their 37 two plays later. Craig Jones ran for 4 and Sherman hit Tyler Banks on 7 and 9 yard passes to reach the 17. Craig Jones rambled in from there with 3:15 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs lost a yard on their next possession. The Big Red special teams blocked the punt to take over at the Harlem 17. Bond Turner gained 5 on a toss by Sherman. One play later Sherman found Saggus for 4, but the Devils were 4 inches short of a first down. Sherman rushed for 3 for the first, with Daniel running for 4 and then 1 for the score. Dylan Arthur continued his perfect PAT string for a 21-0 lead with 11:24 remaining in the half.
Harlem managed two first downs before being stopped just inside Red Devil territory. The Devils started from their 20 after the punt, and picked up 15 on an interference penalty. Sherman gained 8 before Craig Jones scurried for 18 to the H 34. Craig rushed for 4 more. After two incompletions the Devils faced 4th-and-6 at the Harlem 30. Sherman found Saggus on the right side for 30 and the touchdown. The Devils led 28-0 with 5:05 before half.
Harlem got the ball to start the second half, but Jarvis Jones made sure the Devils scored first when he tipped and intercepted a Bulldog pass and returned it down the right side for the Devils first defensive touchdown of the year.
With less than two minutes gone in the second half, Lincoln County started giving its younger players game-time experience. Harlem put together a 70-yard, 13-play drive that ended with a 7-yard TD pass with 3:22 left in the third.
Our Devils cam right back with Craig Jones returning the ensuing kickoff 31 yards to the LC 41. Mohr rushed for 21 to the H 38. He then found Banks for 7 yards. Sophomore Dayshawn Taylor motored untouched the final 31, scoring with 2:35 left in the third for the final 42-7 margin.
Our Red Devils threatened again with Sherrod Jones gaining most of the yardage on the ground, but LC intentionally incurred three delay-of-game penalties to run down the clock and keep the score down.
Oddly, Lincoln County failed on all five of its first half third down conversions, but was successful on all three of its fourth down tries in the same half.
This Friday Lincoln County will host Greenbrier in the first game at Buddy Bufford Field this season. The Wolfpack, playing in Class AAAA, is coming off close losses to Richmond Academy and Hephzibah after defeating Grovetown in its opener. Lincoln County last faced Greenbrier in 2005 when the Wolfpack whipped the Devils 36-16, giving our Devils their first 0-3 start in a half-century. (Lincoln County would win their next 12 games and the Class A State Title.) Kickoff is at 7:30.