Lincoln County's 2013 season ended last Friday night at Buddy Bufford Field in a 37-13 loss to a strong Dooly County team.
The Red Devils finished the year with a 7-4 record and were runner-up in Region 7-A.
For the year, Mike McIntire led rushers with 1,572 yards on 190 carries, with 24 rushing touchdowns. Ben Turner led passers with 701 yards and 8 TDs while copleting 51 of 96 attempts. Jamar Norman led receivers with 25 catches for 395 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Eleven seniors played their last game for the Devils: Max Ashmore, TyQuane Ross, Jalen Smith, Jarvis Smith, Mike McIntire, Fred Crite, Ben Turner, James Spratlin, Jonathan Partlow, Ron White, and Andy Ray Wengrow. During their four years of high school, the Devils won 40 games and two region championships, and were runnerup the other two years.
The game started out well for the hometown team as the Devils took the opening kickoff and drove for the first points of the game. Freshman Quay Hartfield returned the kickoff about 20 yards to the LC 36. Norman gained 14 on an end-around. McIntire rushed for 7 and then 5 yards to the Bobcat 38. A roughing-the-quarterback penalty moved the pigskin to the 23. McIntire gained 14 before QB Turner scored from seven yards out. James Spratlin kicked the PAT for a 7-0 Lincoln County lead with 9:47 left in the first quarter.
Dooly County came right back, scoring on a 37-yard run with 7:24 left in the first. The 64-yard drive took seven plays.
The Red Devils managed only five yards on their next possession, giving the ball back to the visitors on the DC 16 after Spratlin's 43-yard punt. After four rushing plays, the Bobcats found a receiver open on the home sideline. He avoided two tackles and went 69 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. With just over 3 minutes left in the opening period, Dooly led 14-7.
After a sack and a 20-yard pass, the Devils faced a 4th-&-1 at their 47. The run effort came up just inches short, turning the ball over to the Bobcats. Dooly gained one first down before a holding penalty and the Devil Defense stopped the drive and forced a punt.
The Devils started from their 25 and drove to midfield on a mixture of runs and passes before the drive fizzled. A high snap on the punt effort led to Dooly starting from the LC 21. Four plays later the Bobcats scored on a 2-yard run with 5:13 left in the half. The kick gave the visitors a 21-7 lead.
An interception on the Devils' next drive, with a 30-yard return, setup the Bobcats at the LC 8. Two plays later Dooly scored on a 5-yard run with 3:37 left before the bands played. Neither team threatened again in the first half, leaving the halftime score 28-7 in favor of Dooly County.
The Red Devils got new life at the beginning of the second half when they recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff. A facemask penalty on the first scrimmage play gave the Devils a first down at the DC 18. McIntire rushed for 11 and then 3, followed by a 1-yard run by Turner. McIntire scored from the 3 with 10:15 left in the third. The PAT attempt failed, leaving the score at 28-13.
The Bobcats fumbled on the next kickoff as well, but managed to cover the pigskin. They drove into LC territory but Jamar Norman ended the threat with an interception plus 20-yard return to the LC 25. The Devils picked up one first down before coming up short on fourth down at the LC 41.
Dooly's rushing game again showed its strength, reaching a 1st-&-goal at the 5. The Devil Defense stopped the Bobcats on four plays, taking over on downs at the 3. The bad field position led to a safety as the third quarter ended. Dooly led 30-13.
The Devils stopped the Bobcats on downs at the LC 18, but were unable to move the ball and punted. Dooly again drove deep into Lincoln territory, but was stopped by a fumble on fourth down at the LC 6. An interception by Dooly and 40-yard return led to an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:46 left in the game.
The Devils were stopped twice on downs in the final three minutes, as they played hard until the final whistle. Dooly County advanced to the quarterfinals with a 37-13 victory.
The 37 points allowed is the third most allowed in a playoff game in Devil history. The most ever was 41 to Jonesboro in the Devils' first playoff game in 1949. The Devils allowed 39 in a 47-39 win over ELCA in 2009. The 24-point losing margin was the second highest in Devil playoff history, behind the 41-6 loss to Jonesboro.
Lincoln County will return a good group of underclassmen for the 2014 season.