McCORMICK, SC: Ben Turner and the Red Devil receiving corps quickly answered the question that some had asked prior to the season: can the Devils move the ball through the air. The answer: nearly 250 yards on 18 completions enroute to a 24-0 season-opening victory over McCormick.
Turner missed the 2011 season due to a knee injury. The junior quarterback proved he was able to run the offense and pass the ball effectively, completing 18 of 25 attempts for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Jalen Franklin caught 6 passes for 119 yards, with Zireycus Letman grabbing 8 for 81. Each had a touchdown catch.
The Devil Defense also had an outstanding game, keeping McCormick to a single meaningful first down and 63 yards offense. The Chiefs barely crossed midfield during the game. In their opener, the Chiefs scored 42 points.
Before a standing-room-only crowd on the Lincoln County side of the McCormick field, the Devils took the opening kickoff and marched down the field on the passing of Turner and running of Mikey McIntyre (12 carries for 38 yards and 1 TD). The 16-play drive ended on downs at the Chief 3.
The Devil Defense stopped the Chiefs, and LC started again on its 48. The Devils moved to the Chiefs 11 before again being stopped on fourth down. A long roll on the next McCormick punt put the Devils at their own 17.
Turner hit Letman for 8 yards to the LC 25. The new QB then found Franklin open around the 40. Franklin broke two tackles and outran the Chiefs to the endzone for a 75-yard score. James Spratlin added the PAT with 11:41 left in the second quarter for a 7-0 Lincoln lead.
After a 35-yard kickoff return, the Chiefs were again stopped short of a first down by the Devils, and turned the ball over on downs. Mixing passes and runs again worked for the Devils. Turner found Letman just inside the endzone on the right side for a 5-yard TD pass with 5:32 left in the half. Spratlin's kick was good for a 14-0 lead.
With some help from the Devil Defense, the Chiefs went backward on their next possession. The punt from the 19 went out of bounds at the 26, giving Lincoln County an excellent scoring opportunity. Turner passed 5 yards to Letman, and Mcintyre gained 3 rushing for 3rd-and-2 at the 18. Letman caught Turner's pass and broke two tackles to reach the 3. Two plays later McIntyre scored from the 3 with 1:41 left in the half. Spratlin's kick gave the Devils a 21-0 halftime lead.
After McCormick was stopped on its initial drive of the second half, Franklin returned the punt 26 yards to the LC 46. Turner rushed for 9 and McIntyre 6 to the McCormick 39. Jamar Norman gained 20 yards on 3 carries to the 19. Two running plays lost a yard, setting up a 35-yard field goal by Spratlin. The Devils led 24-0 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Devils were at the McCormick 3 in the final minute but chose to take a knee rather than try to score again since the game was decided.
The Red Devils, ranked #1 in the Associated Press and AJC polls, will host the Washington-Wilkes Tigers this Friday at Buddy Bufford Field. Kickoff for the 75th meeting of the two arch-rivals will be 7:30. The Tigers won their season opener on August 24 with a 48-0 whipping of Calhoun Falls Charter School.