AUGUSTA - The Red Devils lost 24-3 to Aquinas here last Friday in the game that decided the Subregion 7-A/B top two spots.
Lincoln County will travel to Jeffersonville this Friday for a rematch with Twiggs County. The Cobras have improved since playing in Lincolnton earlier this year, and finished seeded third in the other subregion. In the play-in games this week, the top seeds play each other and the #2 seeds host the #3 seeds. By agreement, this year the play-in games are hosted by the Subregion A teams. Kickoff in the Cobra Pit is set for 7:30.
A win this Friday will guarantee the Devils a home playoff game November 13. A loss could put Lincoln County on the road. Currently, the Devils are fifth in Class A Public power points at 13.39. Twiggs is sixteenth at 10.04. Region champions are seeded first, in order by power points. Then the 16-team field is completed by other teams, in order by power points. The top eight teams will host the first-round games.
Despite some outstanding plays and great fan support, the Red Devils never got untracked offensively against the strong Aquinas team. Defensively, the very good Irish quarterback and good running backs and receivers kept the Big Red defense moving backward.
Before a standing-room-only crowd and live television audience, the game started well for the Devils as they forced two incomplete passes and a punt on the opening Irish possession. A 19-yard pass from Javon Reid to Quay Hartfield gained one first down before the Devils punted from near midfield.
The Irish started from their six, but a 37-yard pass down the right sideline moved Aquinas close to midfield. A good run and a good pass gave the Irish a first down at the LC 16. The defense stiffened with a sack on third down to force a field goal attempt. The 35-yard boot was good with 27 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Hartfield took the following kickoff and scooted down the right sideline before getting knocked out-of-bounds 85 yards later, at the Irish 4. Three runs failed to get the pigskin into the endzone. Ryan O'Neill tied the game at 3-all with a 20-yard field goal with 10:45 left in the half.
Aquinas drove 75 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 19-yard pass from the quarterback to his brother. The QB made the big play on the drive with a 20-yard run from midfield. The PAT kick was good with 6:50 left in the half to give Aquinas a 10-3 advantage.
The Devils came back, driving to the Irish 26 before a fourth down run came up inches short in the last threat of the half.
The Devils were unable to make a first down after taking the second half kickoff. The Irish started from their 31 after a Devil punt. Mixing rushing and passing, the Irish again drove before scoring on a 1-yard run by the quarterback with 6:12 left in the third. The extra point kick put Aquinas up by two touchdowns, 17-3.
Lincoln County had another three-and-out series, punting to the Irish at their 27. The home team drove twenty plays, including three fourth-down conversions. The effort ended when a 36-yard field goal attempt went wide left with 7:17 left in the contest.
But the Devils were not quite done. Reid connected with Midarious Roberts for 26 yards to the Irish 40. Unfortunately the drive stymied there with a fourth down pass faling incomplete.
Aquinas scored on a 15-yard pass with 1:35 left to close out the scoring.
Xavier Gartell caught a 44-yard pass from Reid with 44 seconds left, to the Irish 16. The game ended before the Devils were able to score, leaving the final margin at 24-3.
The victory was the first in Augusta by Aquinas High. The Irish, now 8-1, will travel to Macon to play Stratford Academy for the Region 7-A championship. The Red Devils lead the all-time series with the Augusta private school 34-5-1. The Irish have won the last three as part of their current 34-2 three-year run.