Penalties, 98-yard KO Return Result in Devils' First 0-3 Start in a Half Century

September 09, 2005

Lincoln County's first visit to the Brierpatch proved to be a thorny experience as the Devils start a season winless in their first 3 games for the first time since 1955.

Brandon Barden gave the Devils an early lead when he rambled for 73 yards and the endzone with 10:21 left in the first quarter. Vance Tarver's PAT put the Devils up 7-0. Greenbrier's Erik Smith broke a 49-yard run later in the opening quarter to setup a 5-yard TD pass.

After an interception by Rontae Norman, the Devils drove deep into Wolfpack territory. Darrel Norman went in from the four, but the touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty. After another flag for illegal procedure, the drive fizzled at the 9. The game remain tied at the half. Big Red outgained Greenbrier 207-79 in yards and 8-3 in first downs, but were hurt by 77 yards in penalties.

Greenbrier came out in the second half and were unstoppable on the ground, driving 82 yards in 7 plays to have Reggie Rice score on a 21-yard run with 8:17 left in the third quarter. Led by Barden's rushing, the Devils drove to Wolfpack 5 before settling for a 21-yard field goal by freshman Vance Tarver with 1:46 left in the third to close the gap to 14-10. On the ensuing kickoff, the Wolfpack returner broke through for a 98-yard return for touchdown. Greenbrier ran for the PAT and a 22-10 lead. Smith scored on a 22-yard run and Rice on a 43-yard run in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Rice ended the game with 190 yards on 15 carries, and Smith 118 yards on 13 touches.

The Devils kept working to the final whistle. Barden found Jatheus Jones for 61 yards, and then Alex Bradford for 14 to the Greenbrier 2. Barden gained the final yards for a touchdown with 2:48 left in the game. The Devils threatened again as the game concluded.

Barden finished the game with 134 yards gained on 14 carries, and 122 yards passing.

The 36 points allowed is the 20th most in Red Devil history. Those points make 2005 the first season since 1972 in which Lincoln County has twice allowed at least 35 points in a game.

The loss is the fourth consecutive for the Devils if you include 2004's semifinal. This is only the second time since 1971 that the Devils have lost 4 in a row. Interestingly, Lincoln led in all four games of the current streak.