(LINCOLNTON) Lincoln County completed its sweep of Region 8-A Division II football with a 35-8 victory over Towns County. Senior Franklin Brown scored three times here last Friday night.
The Red Devils will be idle this coming Friday as all other playoff teams see action. The GHSA bracket pits the Region 8 champ against the #4 team from Region 7. Since Region 7 has only three schools playing football, there is no #4 team and Lincoln County receives a bye for the first round. In the second round, the Red Devils will host the winner of this week's Macon County at Wilkinson County first round game.
Brown ran eight times for 50 yards with two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 13 yards and a score. Senior QB Trey Huff completed eight of 14 pass attempts for 113 yards and one TD, and rushed three times for 55 yards. Semaj Jenkins led the rushers with nine carries for 88 yards and one score. Ten Devils rushed and six caught passes.
The Red Devils scored on their first four possessions to take a 28-0 halftime lead. Taking the opening kickoff, Mekhi Wade rushed for 12 and caught a 17-yard pass to reach the TC 18. Kelby Glaze ran for nine before Huff gained four. Glaze then went left and cut up five yards into the end zone. Abraham Crawford booted the PAT less than three minutes into the game.
The visitors from Hiawassee started their offensive night with a 40-yard return to midfield. A mix of passing and running over ten plays earned the Indians a first down at the LC 5. Two running plays lost six yards. On 3rd-&-goal, Wade grabbed the Indian pass deep in the end zone and returned the interception to the LC 21. On the next play. Huff rambled for 47 yards to the TC 32. Brown rushed for 18 and Wade added seven. Jenkins scored from the seven with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. Crawford's boot put the Devils up 14-0.
The Indians started from their 47 after a short kickoff. A recovered fumble cost Towns ten yards. A lateral that bounced out-of-bounds set them back another ten to the TC 27. A pass gained six before a 36-yard punt gave the ball back to the Devils at their 31.
Jenkins ran for six, followed by an eight-yard catch by James Mattison at the LC 45. Jenkins then broke two tackles to gain 23 yards to the TC 32. Jenkins ran for another 14 but a holding call cost 10. Huff connected with Josiah Claxton-Jones for 13. Huff rushed for four. Brown then scored from the eight with 6:37 left in the half. The PAT kick provided a 21-0 lead for the home team.
The Indians again started from good field position at their 42. Four passes created a 2nd-&-1 at the LC 12. The Devil Defense pressured the QB to throw the ball away, and then held their best runner to a 1-yard loss. On 4th-&-2, the Devils caught the Indians for a 2-yard loss to end the threat with 1:55 left in the half.
A 10-yard pass from Huff to Brown was reversed with a holding call. A 40-yard pass between those two, with Brown making a great diving catch, was nullified by another holding flag. Jenkins then had back-to-back runs moving the ball a total of 21 yards. Huff then passed to Josiah Claxton-Jones for 11 to the LC 40 with 44 seconds left. Huff-to-Jenkins put the ball at midfield. With the clock ticking down, Huff threw deep with C. J. Crite catching the pigskin while falling backwards at the TC 9. Huff then hit Brown at the 5 with the receiver cutting into the end zone for the touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half. Crawford's boot gave the Devils a 28-0 halftime lead.
Three passes gained zero yards for Towns, with the Indians punting to the LC 47. The two teams each turned the ball over on downs, with the Devils starting from their 40. Claxton-Jones rushed three times and gained 26 to the TC 34. Wade ran for nine. Brown went to work with five carries. The last one for two yards ended at the goal line for his third touchdown of the pleasant November evening. The PAT kick was good for a 35-0 lead with 1:11 left in the third.
The fourth quarter was played under GHSA's mercy rules with a running clock. The Indians scored on a 12-yard run with 8:08 remaining. Their PAT pass attempt was good to cut the deficit to 35-8.
The Devils' younger players drove fifty yards and ran over six minutes off the clock before turning the ball over on downs at the TC 35. The game ended two plays later to mark the Devils' eighth win of the season.
As a team, Lincoln County amassed 438 yards on 54 plays. The Indians managed only 108 yards on 46 plays. The Devils were flagged 11 times for 125 yards in penalties in what seemed to many to be questionable officiating. Towns County was penalized only three times for 15 yards.
For other Region 8 teams, Greene County defeated Washington-Wilkes to take the #2 spot and will host Christian Heritage from Dalton. W-W is third and will travel o Carrollton to play Mt. Zion. Aquinas will head down I-20 to take on the western Red Devils in Bowdon. Thomson, Harlem, Evans, and Elbert County also made the 2022 playoffs.