Lincoln County's Red Devils visit Washington this Friday to take on the Tigers at 7:30. The game will be the 76th meeting between the varsity football squads representing the two nearby rivals.
Here are a dozen things you may not know about the two teams and the rivalry that has become known, for good reason, as one of the most intense in the southeast.
1. While the Lincolnton-Washington rivalry is regarded as the biggest for each school, the schools are not each other's most frequent antagonist. This is somewhat due to the 16-year period, from 1923 through 1938, when the two schools didn't play each other after fan misbehaviour at the second meeting in 1922. The Devils have played Warrenton/Warren County 81 times (56-24-1). The Tigers have met Thomson 87 times, Greene County 79 times, and Morgan County 79 times.
2. Both schools have played all home games on the same patches of dirt. Lincolnton's original May Field was a flat part of Dr. C. H. May's cow pasture. The location was graded into a better gridiron in 1947, and became Buddy Bufford Field in 1961. Washington's field was original known as the East Georgia Fairgrounds. The stadium was named for Coach Charlie Davidson in recent years.
3. No man has been head coach of both schools. Thomas Bunch was an assistant in Washington before returning home to Lincolnton as an assistant and later head coach. Lucious "Tiny" Groves played for Washington and later coached the Devils.
4. Back in the early days of high school football, when mascot names were often unofficial, both schools were known as Bearcats for a short while.
5. The Red Devils lead the all-time series with 36 wins to 33 for W-W with 6 ties. Lincolnton's first win didn't happen until 1949. Since that win, the Devils lead the series 36-23-4.
6. Washington has had 25 head coaches. Lincolnton/Lincoln County has had 20.
7. The Red Devils have won 14 state football championships, with W-W winning 4. Twice (1960 and 1963) both schools won in the same year. Both times, the Devils defeated the Tigers in the season opener. Lincoln County is 13-2 against W-W in years when the Devils won the state championship.
8. During The Campbell Years, the Tigers have had nine head coaches. Lincoln County has won 29 of the 42 games, with W-W the most frequent opponent for Larry Campbell. Campbell, in his 42nd season as head coach, is the longest serving head coach in Georgia.
9. Compared to 40 years ago, both schools have flipped where their fans sit at their home stadiums. Both schools built larger stands on the former visitor side, and then switched sides.
10. Considering over 130,000 games played, the Red Devils have won the second most in Georgia prep history with a 708-248-23 record. Washington-Wilkes is tied for tenth with a mark of 617-348-33. Valdosta leads Georgia and the nation with 877-209-34. Lincoln is 43rd nationally in wins.
11. The most points ever allowed by a Lincolnton/Lincoln County team was in Washington in 2001, in a 55-14 loss.
12. This Friday's game will be the first to be broadcast live on television. WJBF is televising the game on its 6.2 digital channel and via the Internet using the app downloadable from www.wjbf.com.
Both teams are ranked going into this week's fray. The Tigers are ninth in Class AA after an impressive 58-0 whipping of Calhoun Falls last Friday behind the running and passing of two sophomores (TB Quay Blackburn and QB Deandre Harris). The Devils moved to third in Class A combined (#1 in Class A Public) after Dooly County was upset by Macon County 34-18.
This Friday, get to Washington and support your favorite team! Go DEVILS!!