Lincoln County advanced to the second round of the Class A playoffs with a hard-fought 27-7 win over the Jefferson Dragons in Lincolnton. LCHS will host Gordon Lee next Friday. Gordon Lee's Trojans, #4 seed from 6-A from Chickamauga, are 6-5 after nipping Eagles Landing Academy 21-16
Lincoln County had trouble stopping the Jefferson ground game, but Jefferson had much more trouble trying to stop our Devils. The teams combined for 32 first downs, 542 yards rushing, and 103 yards passing.
Big Red took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards to take the lead 5 minutes into the game. Shawntavious Jennings gained 12 to give the Devils 1st-&-goal at the 8, but 3 plays lost 14 yards. On 4th-&-goal, Brandon Barden found Jatheus Jones open in the middle for the TD.
The Devils forced Jefferson to punt on its first possession, taking over at the Lincoln 43. LCHS moved to the Jefferson 30 before a fumble ended the drive. The Dragons then picked up chunks of yards on the ground, with their quarterback scoring from 31 yards out with 3 seconds left in the opening quarter. The PAT kick gave Jefferson a 7-6 lead.
But that lead was short-lived. Just over 2 minutes later, Barden trotted into the right corner of the endzone to put the home team up 12-7.
Jefferson broke a 48-yard run for a first down at the LC 28. Five plays gave the Dragons 3rd-&-9 at the LC 13. Rontae Norman grabbed the first of two interceptions at the LC 15 to end the threat.
The Devils went back to their ball-control offense. Tyler Beale gained 27, 16, and then 2 yards for the touchdown with 2:07 left in the half.
Jefferson continued to drive the ball well in the second half, getting to the Lincoln 4 on its first possession of the second half. The Devil Defense jarred the pigskin loose from Jefferson's best back, recovering at the 4. The Devils then put together a 20-play drive that consumed over nine minutes. The drive ended when a field goal attempt fell just short of the goalposts.
After stopping the Dragons on their last threatening drive, Beale broke loose for 65 yards down the right side. Vance Tarver's PAT kick gave the Devils what would be the final margin: 27-7.
Rontae Norman grabbed his second interception as the game ended, returning it 60 yards to the Jefferson 5.