Devils Fall To Tigers

September 09, 2012

Lincoln County's never-day-die Red Devils made the fourth quarter interesting, but other than that it was all Washington-Wilkes here last Friday in a 21-6 win in the 75th meeting of the 90-year-old series.

The Red Devils continue to lead the series, 36-33-6. Lincoln County drops to 1-1 on the young season, with the Tigers 2-0.

Washington-Wilkes' domination was something seldom performed by a team visiting Buddy Bufford Field. The Tigers held the Devils to just 18 yards and no first downs in the first half, while gaining 155 yards and 11 first downs themselves. The Devils didn't cross midfield until the second half. The Tigers ran 40 plays in the first half, while keeping the Devils to only 14.

The final stats were a bit closer. W-W led in rushing 180 to 70, passing 190 to 80, and first downs 18-11. The Tigers' ability to convert on third and fourth downs devastated the Devils.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove deep into Red Devil territory before the Devil Defense stiffened and ended the threat. After swapping possession a couple of times, the Red Devil punt returner muffed the Tiger punt with W-W recovering at the 3. Two plays later the Tigers scored on a 11-yard pass on the first play of the second quarter. The PAT kick gave the visitors a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers scored again on their next possession. This time it was a 17-yard pass to the received in the left corner of the endzone. The PAT kick put the Tigers up 14-0 with 5:01 left in the first half.

The Red Devils showed new life as the second half started with Jamar Norman returning the kickoff 35 yards to the Tiger 45. Unfortunately the momentum was quickly killed by an interception.

The Tigers then burned over 5 minutes off the clock with a 10-play drive to the Lincoln 9 before the Tigers came up short on fourth down.

W-W may have thought they put the final nails in the Devils' coffin when they scored on a 3-yard run with 10:17 left in the final quarter. The PAT made it 21-0.

But these 2012 Devils do not quit. Ben Turner led the Devils down the field, finding Zireycus Letman for the final 3 yards with 6:39 left in the game. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the margin at 15 points, 21-6.

The Devils then recovered the onside kick. Mikey McIntyre had his best run of the night, 18 yards, to move the Devils into scoring position. Multiple pass attempts fell incomplete, turning the ball back over to the Tigers.

The Devil Defense came up big for one last chance, recovering a Tiger fumble at the WW 18 with 5:27 left. But again LC passes came up empty, with the Tigers taking over with 4:59 left.

Stopping the Tigers on downs, Lincoln County still had a chance. Turner passed to Letman for 28 yards to the Tiger 45 before W-W stopped the final effort and secured the 21-6 victory. The win was the first for the Tigers over Lincoln County since a 3-0 win in Lincolnton in 2006.

This Friday Lincoln County welcomes Ninety Six High School to Buddy Bufford Field for the first time. The Wildcats are 2-2 with the two losses coming to Class AAA schools. Last Friday they beat Ware Shoals 30-13. Ninety Six is a AA school in Greenwood County. Current Lincoln County offensive coordinator Mike Doolittle was the Ninety Six head coach from 1994 to 2006, compiling a 106-55 record with state titles in 2000 and 2001 and state runner-up in 1999. Kickoff time is 7:30.

Photos courtesy The Lincoln Journal