Lincoln County spotty the visiting Tigers seven points on a blocked punt, then stormed back for a 21-9 win and key Region 7-A victory
It may not have been pretty, but it surely was a dominating win by Lincoln County over its arch-rival from Washington.
The Red Devils outgained the Tigers by almost 4-to-1, 325 yards to 81 yards in offense. Only three big plays keep Washington-Wilkes in the game: a blocked punt for TD, a long punt return, and a long interception return.
The Tiger offense didn't get inside the Devil 42 until that punt return with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. On that possession and after the interception, the Tigers got inside the Devil 10 but was stopped by the tough Big Red Defense on fourth down. Lincoln had 14 first downs to 5 for the visitors.
The ugly part of the game was the avalanche of penalties. The zebras walked 12 flags off against our Devils for 82 yards, with some of those setting up the blocked punt in the first quarter. The Tigers had 10 infractions marked off against them for 105 yards.
Gavin Williams led the offensive surge with 99 yards on 20 carries, including a 4-yard TD and two 20-yard runs.
The game-breaker happened early in the second half when QB Cord Coppin found Shawntavious Jennings open in the right flat. About 40 yards down the field Alex Bradford leveled the last Tiger defender to open the way for Jennings to the endzone and a 75-yard TD play.
Lincoln County now has the upper hand in the Region 7-A race and the best possible playoff path. A win against either Warren County or GMC gives the Devils the top seed. W-W needs a win over Aquinas next Friday in Augusta to guarantee a first-round playoff game in Washington.
After an exchange of punts to open the game, the Tigers' 2nd punt rolled to the Lincoln 7. Two good runs by Gavin Williams gave the Devils a first down but a personal foul penalty gave the ball to LC at their 10. Two penalties and three no-gainers left the Devils punting from the 3. The Tigers blocked the punt attempt and recovered in the endzone with 2 seconds left in the first quarter. The PAT kick put the Tigers up 7-0.
If the Devil faithful were worried, they had to do it in a hurry. The Lincoln County offense came back on the field and quickly marched 56 yards in 5 plays. Williams rushed for 25 of the yards, including the final four with 10:37 left in the half to cut the lead to 7-6.
The Devil Defense stuffed the Tigers on their next possession, forcing another punt that Brandon Barden almost blocked to return the earlier favor. Williams had some strong runs to move the Devils to the WW20. CJ Norman burst through the line to put LC up 12-7. Cord Coppin connected with a wide open Barden on the two-point PAT for a 14-7 halftime lead.
On the third play of the second half, Coppin connected with Shawntavious Jennings on a 75-yard pass play for a huge touchdown. Chase McGill's kick made it 21-7 Devils with 10:15 left in the third quarter. The two rivals twice exchanged punts before the Tigers returned one about 50 yards to the LC 26 with 38 seconds left in the third. A personal foul took the Tigers halfway to the goal. W-W got to the 7, but no closer as the Devil Defenders knocked away a fourth-down pass attempt.
Spurred by Tyler Beale's 35 yard run, the Devils drove from their 8 to the Tiger 25. Coppin, trying to avoid a sack, threw a rare interception with the Tigers returning the ball to the Lincoln 15. The Devil Defense was again up to the challenge, stopped the Tigers at the 9 with 4:45 left. The Devils gained a first down before two penalties cause a 3rd-&-15 at the 15. Concerned about a blocked punt since the Devil long-snapper has a broken thumb, the Devils took an intentional safety to ensure a good punt. CJ Norman intercepted the final Tiger pass at the LC 36 with 1:31 left to guarantee a 21-9 Devil win.