Lincoln County will travel to Augusta this Friday night to decide whether the Red Devils or Aquinas will finish atop Region 7-A Subregion B. A huge crowd is expected, so Devil fans are urged to arrive early for the 7:30 kickoff.
The Irish are 7-1 this season, with their sole loss coming at the hands of undefeated Prince Avenue Christian. Aquinas is ranked #8 in the AJC poll, with Lincoln County #9. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Irish are 33-2, including the 2013 Class A Private state title and a loss in the semifinals to eventual state champion Mt. Paran Christian last year.
The Irish have a powerful offense, averaging 40.5 points per game. They pass very well and run well. Their defense allows 16.5 points per game for an average winning margin of 24 points.
The Red Devils also have impressive numbers after eight games, with the best defense in Class A Public at 5.9 points per game. The offense has been impressive with a 26.1 points per game average for an average winning margin of 20.2. When looking at Class A Power Points ratings, the Devils are slightly ahead of the Irish.
The Devils came oh-so-close to upsetting the Irish in Lincolnton last year before losing 15-13. Aquinas won 42-14 in the Devils' last visit to the Highland Avenue campus. That was the first Irish win over the Devils since 1972.
The two teams, perfect so far in subregion play, will travel west November 6 to play the top two teams in Subregion A. With one game to go, Stratford Academy is undefeated in subregion A with Twiggs County somewhat a surprise at 3-1. If that holds up, the Aquinas-Lincoln winner will play at Stratford Academy for the region title and the loser will visit Jeffersonville.
Last Friday, the Devils beat GMC 42-7 for their 44th consecutive Homecoming win. This eighth victory of the season is the most since 2012, and the 8-0 start is the best since 2011.
GMC punted on their first possession with the Devils taking over on their 32. Quay Hartfield rushed for seven yards before Jamal Norman galloped for 26 yards down the right side. Three plays later QB Javon Reid crossed the line then cut left behind blocking, slipped two tackles, and just caught the left end of the goal-line, as he was being tackled, for a touchdown. The 39-yard run came with 7:25 left in the first quarter. Ryan O'Neill booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
The two teams exchanged punts, but each time the Devils gained better field position. LC started from the Bulldog 32 as the first quarter came to a close. Hartfield went around the right side for 23 yards. Norman took the pigskin up the middle for five. Hartfield gained two more before Reid scored from the two with 11:18 left in the half. The Devils faked the PAT kick with holder Blake Beggs throwing to a wide open Austin Parks for two points and a 15-0 advantage.
Marquis Leverett twice came very close to grabbing interceptions, including on third down on the next Bulldog possession. After the punt, Big Red started from the Bulldog 45. On 3rd-and-13, Reid sprinted and hit Hartfield on the run for a 14-yard aerial gain. An illegal block penalty pushed the Devils back to the 48 for 1st-and-24. Tydarius Elam took the pitch, weaved through would-be tacklers, and then hit the rockets for a 48-yard touchdown run. Ryan's boot with 7:30 left before Homecoming festivities gave the Devils a comfortable 22-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tried a little trickery on their next possession, with their halfback taking the handoff but then pulling up and throwing downfield. Reid, the Devil quarterback, found himself on the better end of an interception as he made a juggling catch at the LC 43. Jayden Robinson gained 11 yards on two runs. Reid connected with Midarious Roberts for 21 yards to the GMC 25. Hartfield scored from there, breaking two tackles at the two. The PAT kick gave the Devils a 29-0 lead with 5:28 left in the half.
GMC, desperate to score before the break, faked a punt with the up-man taking the snap but then getting slammed by the Devil Defense for a seven-yard loss to the GMC 15.
Three runs gained only seven, so Ryan lined up for a 25-yard field goal attempt. But Coach Kevin Banks decided to show a little more trickery himself, as holder Beggs took the snap and again found Parks open in the endzone for an eight-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick went hit the upright and failed, but the Devils led 1:23 before the half. Devon Holloway grabbed an interception to end the half with the home team ahead 35-0.
The Devils took the second half kickoff and headed toward the endzone on runs of 13 by Reid, 18 by Nroman, and 27 by Hartfield. The Devils lost the handle on the pigskin at the GMC 8.
The Devil Defense forced one of six Bulldog punts in the game. This time Elam made the catch at the 42 and returned the ball to the 1. Hartfield scored from there with 3:24 left in the third. William LeRoy booted the PAT for a 42-0 score.
GMC again punted, and the Devils fumbled the ball deep in their own territory. From the 12, the Bulldogs still needed three plays to score. Their one-yard run came with 5:49 left in the contest. The PAT kick was good for the final 42-7 margin.
The game next Friday will be broadcast live on WJBF MeTV 6.2. Go Devils!