LINCOLNTON - Lincoln County trounced Twiggs County 54-0 here last Friday night to close out 2018 with a 4-6 record. The Red Devils outgained the winless Cobras 517-26.
The Devils finished 27th in the GHSA Class A Public Power Ratings. The top 24 teams, including Greene County and Hancock Central, made the playoffs. Washington-Wilkes (3-7) and Warren County (5-5) finished behind the Devils in the ratings. Greene whipped Tattnall Square 35-10 to win the Region 7-A championship. Aquinas, Tattnall Square, Mt. de Sales, and Stratford Academy made the playoffs on the private bracket.
This season is the first time since 1973 that the Devils did not qualify for post-season play. That 44-year playoff streak is a Georgia state record. The 4-6 final record means 2018 is the first losing season since 1972's 3-7 mark.
The win over Twiggs preserves the Devils' 68-year streak of winning at least one home game each season (since 1954's 0-10 result).
Sophomore Tevin Gartrell led the rushing attack with 210 yards and 3 TDs on only four carries. Senior Kolbi Ferguson was close on his heels with 183 yards and 3 scores on nine attempts. For the season, Ferguson gained 838 yards on 115 carries with 15 touchdowns to lead the team.
Gartrell took the handoff on the first play of scrimmage, broke through the line, and outraced the Cobras to the endzone 68 yards away. Lane Tuten booted the PAT just 17 seconds into the game.
After a good kickoff return, the Cobras lost one yard on their first possession and punted to the LC 10. A penalty moved the Devils back to their 5. Monquavious Leverett rushed for three yards. Gartrell was handed the pigskin again, broke two tackles at the line, and was back to the races. Twiggs couldn't catch the young speedster before he scored 92 yards later. The kick failed but the Devils led 13-0 with 8:26 left in the opening quarter.
Another Twiggs possession failed to earn a first down with the Cobras' punt rolling to the LC 25. Ferguson broke loose for 55 yards to the Twiggs 20. Sophomore Colton Willis scampered the final 20 yards midway the first period. Tuten's kick gave the Devils a 20-0 advantage.
On the night, the Devil Defense held the Cobras to minus-six rushing yards on 33 attempts. That was the case on the next Twiggs possession, leading to another punt. The two teams traded punts until the home team took over at the TC 46 with 11:09 left in the second quarter. Ferguson ran for seven before Reggie Reid gained five. Ferguson then sprinted 34 yards for his second TD of the night. The kick with 10:01 left put the Devils up 27-0.
The Cobras picked up a first down and moved into Lincoln territory before punting to the LC 17. From there it was all Ferguson: eight, 38, three, and another 34-yard touchdown jaunt. Willis ran for two points to give the Devils a 35-0 lead.
A sack by the Devil Defense followed by a failed punt attempt gave the Devils the pigskin on the Twiggs four. Ferguson rushed for those four yards with 2:44 left in the half. The kick failed leaving the Devils up 41-0.
The next Cobra punt was good for only three yards, putting the Devils back in business at the TC 40. Gartrell took the handoff and headed toward the gym end of the field. His 40-yard touchdown run gave him 200 yards and three scores on only three carries. The kick was blocked, leaving the halftime score 47-0.
The second half was played under GHSA mercy rules with a running clock. Leverett scored on a 16-yard run midway the third quarter. Tuten's kick set the final margin at 54-0.
While the overall season results were a disappointment, the 2018 Red Devils that completed their season last Friday night can hold their head high. They played hard every down, played through many injuries, and represented their LCRD tradition well. Go Devils in 2019!