Lincoln County will host First Presbyterian Day School this Friday in a Region 7-A play-in game. The Red Devils are seeded fourth in 7-A subregion B after falling to Aquinas 34-30 in a nailbiter last Friday.
Washington-Wilkes, riding a four-game winning streak, received the top "B" seed due to its earlier win over Aquinas; the two teams tied with 4-1 subregion records. The Tigers will host undefeated Tattnall Square this Friday for the 7-A championship.
The Devils (3-2 in the subregion, 5-3-1 overall) are tied with Greene County for the third/fourth spots in "B". Greene County received the higher seed due to the Tigers' win over the Devils two weeks ago.
The Red Devils played well in Augusta, twice coming from behind in the second half to take the lead. Both teams gained over 300 yards offense.
Javon Reid rushed for 181 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown. He also threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ty Elam. Quay Hartfield ran 18 times for 103 yards.
Aquinas got the pigskin first and picked up one first down at its 36 on a 12-yard pass. On the next play the Irish quarterback sprinted 64 yards down the left sideline to score. The PAT kick put the home team up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
The Red Devils came right back with Reid rushing for forty yards to the Irish 22. Four runs by Hartfield put the Devils at the five before they were pushed back to the 11. A pass gained four but a fourth-down run was stopped for no gain.
The Irish took over at their seven. The Devil Defense caught the Irish runner for a two yard loss before a holding penalty cost them another yard. The Devils stopped the third down run short of the line-to-gain to force a punt.
The Devils started from great field position at the A 44. Hartfield rushed for nine with a facemask penalty tacking on 15 to the A 20. Jamal Norman ran for six with Reid adding eight for 1st-&-goal at the 6. Reid then called his own number, ran to the right and stuck the ball into the end zone for the score. The PAT attempt failed, leaving the Devils trailing 7-6 with 2:47 left in the first.
The Devil Defense stopped the Irish cold on their next possession, forcing another punt. Hartfield rushed three times for 17 yards and Reid once for 25 to reach the Irish 18. A hard hit on the Devil ballcarrier on the next play forced a fumble. The Irish scooped the pigskin and returned the ball about 70 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick provided Aquinas a 14-6 advantage with 11:09 left in the first half.
The Devils punted to end their next possession, with Aquinas starting from its 35. On the third play the speedster who scooped the fumble took off again. This time he scored on a 53-yard run with 8:31 left in the quarter. With the PAT, the Irish led 21-6.
The rushes by Reid and Hartfield, with good blocking, started clicking with three first downs to reach the A 29. Reid then gained 20 before Norman scored from the nine. William LeRoy booted the PAT to cut the lead to 21-13 with just over four minutes left before the bands played.
The Irish drove forty yards before an interception ended the threat at the LC 22 with half-a-minute left in the half.
Ty Elam returned the second half kickoff 75 yards to paydirt. The Devils' PAT pass failed, but the once 15-point lead had been cut to only two points with all but fifteen seconds of the second half left to play.
The Irish managed one first down before the Devils and penalties stopped the drive at midfield. Lincoln County almost blocked the punt, which was downed at the LC 8.
Hartfield broke through the middle for 47 yards to the A 44. Facing 3rd-&-11 at the A 23, Reid rushed for 15, and a personal foul against the Irish added four more. The drive stymied there, with LeRoy booting a 23-yard field goal. The Devils now led 22-21 with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
A 27-yard run to the LC 20, followed by a 20-yard touchdown run returned the lead to the Irish with 11:25 left. Their PAT pass failed, leaving the gap at 27-22.
After a short kickoff, the Devils started from their 45. They were unable to pickup a first down, but Trey Martin's 44-yard punt was nearly perfect as it put the Irish at their 4. A big defensive play pushed them back to the 2. Aquinas punted to the LC 33. Reid rushed for five, Norman for seven, and Reid again for three to the 18. Reid then passed right to Elam who dove at the goal-line for a touchdown. Reid ran for two points to put the Devils up 30-27 with 5:28 left in the game.
A 29-yard run put Aquinas in scoring position again. A 16-yard pass to an open receiver in the end zone put the Irish back ahead. The PAT kick for a 34-30 lead came with 107 seconds left.
The Devils came out throwing, but an interception ended the threat. The Devil Defense kept the Irish from making a first down, returning the ball of the LC offense at the LC 24 with 0:47 left. More passes fell incomplete as the game ended with Aquinas winning 34-30.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 this Friday night in Lincolnton. A win over First Presbyterian Day will improve the Red Devils' seeding in the expanded 24-team Class A Public playoffs. A loss may not cost the Devils' a playoff berth, but could put them on the road in the first round.
Projected power ratings after last week's games have the Devils in position 12. The top eight teams will have first round byes. The teams in 9 through 16 will host the schools in 17 through 24.
First Presbyterian Day is 6-3 with subregion losses to three strong teams: Tattnall Square, Twiggs County, and Stratford Academy.