Coming off a huge upset of arch-rival Washington-Wilkes last Friday, the Lincoln County Red Devils face a speedy, strong group of Screaming Devils this Friday at 7:30 in Lincolnton. A win over Warren County this week earns our Devils the Region 7-A title.
Speed, speed, speed. That is Warren County in 2005.
Warren County has outscored its 8 opponents 313-87, or an average score of about 40-11. Ranked as high as #8 in some polls, the Screaming Devils have lost only once, 15-14 to Class AAA Spalding. That loss appears to be an anomaly, as that is the only game Spalding has won this year. As a group, Warren's opponents are a combined 21-45, compared to 38-25-1 for Lincoln's opponents. As evidence of their explosive offense, Warren has averaged scoring more than 47 points during their past 5 games.
The Screaming Devils' last victory over our Red Devils came in 1971. Since then, Lincoln is 30-0 against Warren County, including 24-0 since 1984. Warren County has had very good teams during that stretch, including 1988 when Warren County had the #1 defense in Class A. In the regular season finale, Lincoln won 10-0. Two weeks later, with Warren still having the best defense and no rushing touchdowns allowed, our Devils unleashed their full attack, rushing for 4 TDs enroute to a 28-7 win; Warren gave up 50 points all year, with 38 to Lincoln.
Senior Red Devil fans remember another time when scoring defense was a major issue between Warrenton and our Devils. In 1963, Lincolnton went into the final regular season game in Warrenton having not given up a single point. In the third quarter the officials signalled a TD for the home team, but our fans still say the ball never crossed the goal-line. In 12 games, our Devils allowed a total of 13 points, winning the Class C title.
Warren County has always had good (and often great) athletes, but has not been able to retain a coaching staff to provide the stability that ensures a winning program year-after-year. Again looking for a new head coach this spring, Warren County convinced Charles Rutland to end his retirement and take over the Screaming Devil program.
Coach Rutland is no stranger to Lincoln County. He coached at Wrens from 1972 until it consolidated with Louisville to form Jefferson County High in 1995. He then coached those Warriors until his retirement after the 1995 season. Including Warren's 7-1 mark this year, Coach Rutland has a career record of 190-105-6. He is 1-28-0 against our Devils, with the sole win coming in 1998 when at Class AA Jefferson County (7-0). His stint at Wrens included state runner-ups in Class A in 1982 and 1983.
As we understand the playoff seeding rules, it appears Lincoln County has home field in the first round locked up. A win Friday night will probably bring Jefferson to town to start the playoffs, while a loss could mean a return visit by always-tough Commerce.
Series since 1925
Warren County schedule at GAVSV