JEFFERSONVILLE - Lincoln County scored touchdowns just about every way possible, including on four different types of returns, in its 69-14 dismantling of troubled Twiggs County.
If there was a disappointment with the overpowering win, it would be that the starting Red Devil offense didn't get to run many plays this past week. Lincoln County exploded to a 42-6 lead after just one quarter while running less than 10 offensive plays.
But while the offense was wanting more plays, the defense and special teams were simply extraordinary. The defense scored on fumble and interception returns, and the special teams scored on punt and kickoff returns. Return yardage totaled 346 yards.
The win guarantees the Red Devils a home playoff game. Wilkinson County visits Lincolnton this Friday to decide the Region 7-A champion. The winner gets the top seed with the loser second. The Warriors are 7-2, with those two losses by a total of 3 points. They opened the season with a 28-27 loss to still undefeated Johnson County. The other loss was to AAA Dougherty 21-19 in September. Wilkinson has won five straight since then, including 35-20 over Warren County last week.
Mason Saggus got the game off to a very quick start as he returned the opening kickoff 79 yards to the Twiggs 7. Craig Jones scored from the 2 with 11:10 left in the first. Dylan Arthur started a new string of PAT kicks, as he would be perfect on eight attempts during the game.
The Devil Defense forced a Cobra punt, which Ercell Daniel returned 61 yards for the second touchdown with 8:29 left. Twiggs tried throwing the ball on their next possession; Daniel was gone again, this time about 60 yards with an interception. With 7:24 left in the first, the Devils were up 21-0.
Another Cobra possession ended with another turnover, as Steven Morris recovered at the 25. One play later Franklin Sherman dashed into the endzone from the 22. With 4:12 left, the Devils led 28-0.
Twiggs speedy back got loose for 61 yards, but the Devil defense caught him at the 4. The Cobra QB scored from there with 3:50 left in the quarter to cut the LC lead to 28-6.
It took Lincoln County only 15 seconds to get those points back as Sherrod Jones returned the succeeding kickoff 76 yards for the fifth Devil TD of the first quarter. The Cobras were again their own worse enemy as they fumbled and Morris, with his nose for the football, got his second fumble recovery of the quarter. Starting from the Twiggs 28, Sherman connected with Tyler Banks for 10 yards before Daniel rushed for 5 and then 3. Sherman passed to Saggus for 10 for the touchdown with 3 seconds left in the quarter.
Once again, Twiggs couldn't hold onto the ball. Sherman snapped up another Cobra fumble and sprinted 70 yards to the endzone. With 8:35 left in the first half, Lincoln County led 49-6.
After a Cobra punt, Daniel again showed his speed with a 39-yard dash that came up just short of the goalline. On the next play he got that yard for his third touchdown of the half. The score, with 3:02 left, gave the Devils' their 56-6 halftime lead.
GHSA's mercy rules provided a running clock for the second half, and Lincoln County started playing its substitutes and younger players. Dayshawn Taylor scored on a 10-yard run with 9:15 left in the fourth quarter. Twiggs got its second touchdown on a 50-yard run, followed by a two-point run, with 2:26 left.
The Red Devil Junior Varsity scored the final points on a 17-yard run with 4:13 left. Max Ashmore kicked the 69th point.
The Twiggs County head coach was dismissed the day before the game. Three assistants ran the team during the game. Only 17 players dressed.