Lincoln County's Red Devils spotted arch-rival Washington-Wilkes an early field goal enroute to a 24-3 first-round playoff win.
The Devils, now 7-3-1, will travel over 200 miles south to play McIntosh County Academy Friday at 7:30. The Buccaneers are 7-2, with losses to Class A playoff stalwarts Clinch County and undefeated Calvary Day. The Buccaneers earned a bye last week with their sixth seed.
MCA is led by junior QB Major Robinson who has passed for more than a 1,000 yards and a dozen touchdowns. J. P. Palmer leads their rushers with over 400 yards. M. J. McRae and Dustin Anderson lead the receiver corps.
Buc coach Robby Robinson has a 3-2 record against the Red Devils. He won the last three games during his four-year stint as head coach at Washington before he returned to MCA. During the first year of his first stint at MCA, the Red Devils defeated the Bucs 14-0 in the quarterfinals. That game was moved to Brunswick due to the condition of the old MCA field in Darien. MCA played in Class AA for many years before returning to Class A this season.
The winner of the Red Devils' game will play the winner of the Greene County vs. Pelham game.
The MCA field is located at the high school north of Darien. From Lincolnton, the trip is estimated at 3.5 hours, and Red Devil fans should leave I-95 at exit 58.
The Tigers had hoped for a better result in Lincolnton this time around. They won four straight after losing 17-14 in overtime to the Devils in September. They had played better the previous week against Tattnall Square in the 7-A title game.
The game started in their favor, as the Red Devils mishandled the opening kickoff with the Tigers starting from the LC 31. W-W reach the LC 4 primarily due to a pair of 11-yard passes. The Devil Defense pushed the Tigers back to the 11. Their 27-yard field goal attempt just made it over the bar with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
The Devils punted on their first possession. The Tigers connected on a 48-yard pass to reach the LC 18, but two holding flags cost them 20 yards to the LC 38. They punted, with Ty Elam grabbing the pigskin at the 10, went right and outran everyone to the end zone. The 90-yard punt return, plus William LeRoy's PAT kick, put the Devils up 7-3 with 3:29 remaining in the opening period.
After a trade of punts, Xavier Gartrell intercepted a Tiger pass and returned the ball five yards to the LC 34. Javon Reid triple-pumped and connected with triple-covered Midarious Roberts at the W-W 6 for a 47-yard gain. The Devils' 23-yard field goal attempt went wide right as the first half ended. The Red Devils led 10-3.
The Tigers failed to make a first down and punted to end their first possession of the second half. Reid double-pumped and found Gartrell deep for a 50-yard gain to the W-W 15. Reid rushed for 14 to just shy of the goal line. He then kept the ball and pushed into the middle of the line. It took a few seconds for the referees to signal that the ball had crossed the goal line. With the PAT, the Devils led 17-3 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Later in the third, the Tigers drove to the LC 16. A fourth down pass was successfully defended by Elam and Antonio Williams to end the threat.
The two teams exchanged punts with the Devils starting at the Tiger 48. Jamal Norman gained most of the yards on the drive, including the final three for a touchdown with 1:52 left in the game. LeRoy was again good to increase the Lincoln County lead to 24-3.
The Tigers drove deep into Devil territory with two good runs. On 3rd-&-goal at the 1, the Tigers were penalized for a personal foul. The Devil Defense stopped the last two plays to preserve the 24-3 lead as the final margin. The Tigers end their season at 4-7. For the second time, the Devils had defeated the Tigers twice in one season. Lincoln County now leads the long-time series 39-35-6.