Lincoln County was unable to overcome a rough start last Friday as the Red Devils fell to McIntosh County Academy 14-7 in the second round of the Class A Public playoffs. The Devils end the 2016 season with a 7-4-1 record.
The rough start began before the team arrived in Darien. A tire issue on the team's chartered bus delayed Lincoln County's arrival at the MCA complex. That changed the team's warm-up plans, with the opening kickoff coming thirty minutes later than scheduled.
Midarious Roberts returned the opening kickoff 24 yards to the LC 34. The Devils were unable to make a first down and punted.
The Pirates started at their 37 and mixed plays to reach the LC 38. A MCA receiver got behind the Devil Defense, caught the pass and was off to the end zone. The PAT kick gave the home team a 7-0 lead with 8:13 left in the first quarter.
The tough MCA defense again stopped the Devils for a three-and-out and another punt. Four plays later another receiver got loose deep, this time for a 42-yard touchdown. The extra point gave the Pirates a 14-0 lead just pass midway the first quarter.
QB Javon Reid ran for 18 yards to put the Devils in Pirate territory. The Devils came up short on 4th-&-2 at the MCA 34.
The Pirates picked up 20 yards on a pass before Xavier Gartrell intercepted the next attempt at the LC 17.
The two teams swapped punts until halftime, with no serious scoring threats.
McIntosh came out throwing again, completing a 46-yard pass to the LC 30. A holding penalty and pass defense by Elam forced a 4th-&-6. The Pirates fumbled with the Devils recovering at their 34.
Roberts rushed for 21 yards, followed by a personal foul penalty that put the Devils at the MCA 30. Reid passed nine yards to Roberts and six to Quay Hartfield for a first at the MCA 20. The next pass was intercepted at the 18 to end the scoring threat.
The defensive struggle was then renewed with the punters getting a workout. The Pirates' second punt of the half ended with the Devils at their 22.
Reid connected with Gartrell for 48 yards to excite the Red Devil faithful. An interception penalty put the Devils at the MCA 17. A sack put the Devils back 10 yards and facing 4th-&-20. Reid pulled off another of his miracle scramble-pass plays, finding Antonio Williams for 22 yards and a 1st-&-goal at the five.
Three plays later Reid found Ty Elam open in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. William LeRoy's PAT kick cut the Pirates' lead in half, 14-7, with 5:43 left in the game.
The Devil Defense stopped the Pirates on their next possession, giving the Devils one last chance with 3:20 remaining. Passes to Elam and Gartrell gained a first down at the LC 29 before the Devils turned the ball over on downs with 1:43 left. The Pirates ran out the clock to preserve their victory.
Javon Reid ended the season with 1,145 yards passing and 1,017 yards rushing. He completed 61 of 143 pass attempts for twelve touchdowns. He ran 153 times for 11 touchdowns.
Quay Hartfield rushed 151 times for 839 yards with six touchdowns. Jamal Norman ran 89 times for 463 yards with seven TDs.
Midarious Roberts snagged 23 passes for 415 yards with three scores. Tydarius Elam caught 16 aerials for five TDs and 295 yards. Xavier Gartrell had 14 receptions for 220 yards.
The seven wins by the Devils make 2016 the 43rd time in the last 44 years that the Devils have won at least seven games.
One of the highlights of the season was a 7-7 tie with top-ranked and defending Class AA champion Abbeville. The Panthers have not had a close game since that September 9 night, and are 10-0-1 and active in the SC Class AA playoffs.
Other season highlights were the two wins over arch-rival Washington-Wilkes to extend Lincoln County's lead in the long-time series to 39-35-6. The Devils did not lose a home game this season, going 6-0.
Greene County, now the last Region 7-A public school remaining in the playoffs, will visit McIntosh County Academy this Friday. Tattnall Square is the last 7-A private school left and will play at Calvary Day.