COLUMBIA COUNTY - Greenbrier High scored first and last, but it was all Lincoln County between those two touchdown passes as the Red Devils beat the Class AAAA Wolfpack 43-13 at the Wolfpack Den here last Friday.
The Devils improved to 4-0 as they closed out the non-region portion of their regular season. LCHS defeated two South Carolina teams and two Columbia County teams by a combined score of 192-51.
Their season gets tougher this week as the undefeated Warren County Screaming Devils visit Buddy Bufford Field for a 7:30 kickoff Friday. Warren County, off to its best start since 1989, beat McCormick 48-0 last Friday, and also owns wins over Harlem (40-6) and 8-A contender George Walton Academy (12-3). The Screaming Devils are led by Jabari Wilson who has rushed for 509 yards (nearly 18 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns, and returned a fumble 99 yards to seal the win over GWA. The visitors from Warrenton almost claimed victory over our Devils two years ago during their last visit to Lincolnton; the Screaming Devils jumped out to a 12-0 lead but the Red Devils scored late to pull out a 19-18 win.
At Greenbrier, the Red Devils totaled over 450 yards in offense. Craig Jones led the rushing attack with 135 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Denzel Gunby completed 6 of 12 passes for 107 yards with one touchdown. Mason Saggus was the primary receiver with four catches for 98 yards and one touchdown.
The Red Devil defense stifled the Wolfpack for most of the game. Greenbrier managed only 22 yards of offense in the first half after their opening possession. Much of the Wolfpack's yardage came in the second half against Red Devil substitutes. Greenbrier attempt 29 passes and completed 8 for 108 yards; the Lincoln County defense grabbed 5 interceptions and forced six punts.
The game started roughly for the visitors as the Devils fumbled on the first play from scrimmage with Greenbrier recovering at the Devil 42. Seven plays later the Wolfpack scored on a 34-yard pass to the right side. The PAT kick put the Columbia County team up 7-0 with 8:55 left in the opening period. The Wolfpack would not enter Red Devil territory again until late in the third quarter after Lincoln County started substituting.
The Devils drove deep into Wolfpack territory on their next drive before turning the ball over on downs at the Greenbrier 20. Two plays later Jalen Franklin intercepted a pass and returned the pigskin 35 yards to the Greenbrier 10, but a holding penalty backed the Devils up to the 20. Gunby found Saggus open at the goalline for the touchdown. Price Rogers passed to Jet Marshall for two points to give the Devils an 8-7 lead with 5:09 left in the first.
After punts, the Devils took over at the Greenbrier 45. Jones broke at least three tackles and sprinted untouched the last 30 yards to the endzone. James Spratlin booted the PAT with 1:40 left in the half to put the Devils up 15-7.
Early in the second quarter, the Devils took over at the Greenbrier 31 after a short punt. On the second play Jones was off to the races again, this time for 29 yards and a touchdown with 10:29 left in the half.
Franklin grabbed another interception late in the half. Gunby connected with Saggus for 39 yards to the Greenbrier 28. Jones rushed for 10 to the 18. Gunby then rambled in from there with 1:47 left in the second quarter. Spratlin's extra point boot was good A field goal attempt with 35 seconds left was low, leaving the Devils with a 29-7 halftime advantage.
With second-team players seeing playing time against Greenbrier's starters, freshman Jamar Norman made a diving interception at the LC 6 with 2:27 left in the third quarter. Price Rogers took off from his quarterback position on what would be a 65-yard run to the Greenbrier 3. Two plays later Rogers scored from the 1 with 0:52 left in the quarter.
Mike McIntire scored on a 47-yard run with 4:09 left in the game. McIntire, the sophomore transfer from Harlem, led second half rushing with 88 yards on 9 carries.
Greenbrier, still playing their starters, scored on an 11-yard pass on the last play of the game, with less than a second left on the game clock when the play began. The PAT was not attempted, leaving the final score at 43-13.
The Devils' two lost fumbles and 16 penalties (135 yards) kept the game close. Greenbrier was penalized only once, for ten yards.
Lincoln County, off to its best start since 2007, is ranked as high as fourth in some Class A polls.
Go Big Red!
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