Lincoln County starts its 83rd season of organized football this Friday night at Buddy Bufford Field when old rival Greene County visits for the first time since 1994.
This set of Tigers and our Devils have met 45 times, with Lincoln leading the series 29-15-1. During The Campbell Years, our Devils are 16-6-1 against Greene, with several great battles during the early 1980's when the Tigers were coached by the late Tom Temple.
The Tigers are back to being simply "Greene County", as Taliaferro County High reopened a few years ago and the high schools split. After a series of head coaches over the last several years, current head coach Larry Milligan has brought stability and improvement to the Tiger football program. After hitting bottom in 2001 at 1-8-1, the Class AA Tigers were 5-5 in 2002 before making the playoffs and ending with a 7-4 mark last season.
John Nesbitt, a 6-1, 180-pound sophomore, has outstanding potential at quarterback. Both lines are huge. On offense, junior tackle Lionel Mapp is 6-6 and bends the scale at 340; his senior cohort Angon Merritt is a lightweight at only 280 on a 6-0 frame. Senior nose guard Ricky Brown matches Mapp at 340.
The Georgia High School Football Magazine commented that "If the Tigers are to take another step forward in 2004, they will need some young skill position players to step up, since many of them lack game experience." Greene returns five starters on offense and six on defense, and bested Washington-Wilkes 9-7 in a scrimmage August 6 in Greensboro.
Tiger fans are looking forward to their trip to Lincolnton, as evidenced by this great email we received several months ago:
I am from Greensboro, and played for the Tigers under Head Coach Tom Temple back in the early to mid 80's. I was very happy to see Lincoln County back on the schedule. My oldest son now plays for the Tigers and I have been telling him what to expect when we come down there on August 20. Lincoln and Greene both have a tradition and it's great to see that they will be mixing it up on the ole gridiron once again. Good luck on another great season and see you all in August. -- Tiger Fan/Dad