LINCOLNTON - Lincoln County edged Westside 7-6 in a nailbiter here last Friday night to even its record at 1-1.
The opening series for each team set the tone of the night as neither managed to earn a first down. The Devils gained a first down on their second possession but a pass was intercepted by the visiting Patriots at the LC 47.
Two runs and an offsides flag gave Westside a first down at the LC 35. On 4th-&-6, Johnny Wise and the Devil Defense stopped the Patriot runner for no gain to end the threat. This was Wise's first game as a Red Devil after relocating from Connecticut. His family has owned property in Lincoln County for many years, and established their residence after the Connecticut high school association decided to not play football this fall.
A quarterback sack and penalty pushed the Devils backward on their next possession. Lincoln County faked the punt but the effort ended up short and the Patriots took over at the LC 31.
The Devil Defense knocked Westside back five yards, leading to a 4th-&-15. Judson Beggs snagged the Patriot pass and returned the pigskin ten yards to the LC 31 early in the second quarter.
Tevin Gartrell rushed for seven and then five yards to set up a 3rd-&-1 at the LC 38. Quarterback Keenon Lampkin called his own number and ran for two yards. Gartrell then took the handoff, broke through the middle of the line, and outran the Patriots 58 yards to the endzone. Tristan Tankersley booted the extra point with 8:51 left in the first half. That PAT would prove to be the deciding point in the game.
Westside earned two first downs before penalties. Those and the Devil Defense led to an attempted punt from the LC 40, which became a 13-yard loss. The Devils gained only five yards and punted to the Westside 41. Rice almost intercepted on first down. The Patriots punted and the Devils ran out the clock to reach halftime with a 7-0 lead.
Westside returned the second half kickoff 57 yards to the LC 23. Three runs by the Patriots primary running back gained nine yards. Lampkin broke up the fourth-down pass attempt to end the scoring threat.
The Devils revved up their offense with Lampkin passing 12 yards to Josiah Jones for a first down at the LC 28. Gartrell ran for nine. Lampkin rushed for four with a facemask penalty adding 15. Two short runs and an offsides infraction gave the Devils a first down at the Westside 34. A sack hurt the effort, but Lampkin ran for seven to create a 4th-&-8 at the W 32. Lampkin connected with Colton Willis for seven yards, but one shy of the needed distance.
After taking over on downs, Westside drove to the LC 14 with long runs of 17, 14, and 19 yards. On 4th-&-5, Willis and Reggie Reid almost intercepted while ending the threat with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Devils were unable to move the pigskin and punted. A good return put the ball in play at the LC 45. The Patriots' main back took the handoff and slanted toward the right sideline to reach the endzone. The touchdown came with ten minutes left in the contest. The kick went wide left, leaving the Devils up 7-6.
Gartrell returned the kickoff 24 yards. Lampkin dove for two yards and a first down at the LC 46. The drive fizzled and the Devils punted. The Patriots began from their 48 and gave seven on three runs. Needing three on fourth down, the Devil Defense stuffed the pass attempt for a five-yard loss.
A personal foul penalty (with a Patriot ejected) gave the Devils a first down at the Westside 30. C. J. Zellars rushed for five. Gartrell then rushed for 25 and an apparent touchdown, but a yellow flag for holding nullified the celebration. Zellars gained six and Gartrell added six. The Patriots were again flagged for a personal foul, creating a first down at the ten.
The Devils failed to score and turned the ball over on downs at the eight with 27 seconds left. On Westside's first play, Caleb Willis intercepted the Patriot aerial and returned 25 yards to the 27. The Devils ran out the clock on the next snap.
Gartrell carried 21 times for 106 yards with the touchdown. Lampkin completed three of seven pass attempts for 26 yards with one interception. Lincoln led Westside 163-149 in offensive yards.
This Friday the Red Devils welcome another Richmond County team to Larry Campbell Stadium. Laney High's Wildcats will make their inaugural visit to Buddy Bufford Field. The 4-AA school lost its season opener 6-2 to Grovetown last Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7:30.