Just playing in the Georgia Dome is exciting, but our Red Devils have had more than their share of football excitement in their 6 previous visits to Atlanta.
Including this week's games, Lincoln County will have played in the most Dome playoff games with 7 visits. Washington County is second with 6 Dome semi-final games. Tied for third with 5 playoff games inside are Brookwood, Buford, Charlton County, Marist, Parkview, Statesboro, and Thomas County Central. For a complete list (not counting this week), click here for a post at GHSFHA.org and scroll down to the 11:41am post by bhodges.
Here's a recap of the Devils' 6 Dome playoff games.
2004: Early Lead Not Enough as Devils Lose to Co-Champion Clinch County
Lincoln County took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on a defense that had allowed few points all year. But the tenacious Panther defense created turnovers that led Clinch County to a 26-6 win. Our Devils were hobbled by injuries to several key players before and during the game.
2003: LC Nips Trion 28-24 in Miracle Finish
In one of the most thrilling games in the Dome and in the history of the Lincoln County program, the Red Devils picked themselves off the floor of the Dome, drove 67 yards on 4 plays in 38 seconds, and won the game with 25 seconds left. The final TD pass stopped one of the biggest comebacks in GHSA playoff history, as Trion had taken a 24-22 lead after trailing 22-0 at the half. The game provided revenge for the Devils against Trion, since the Bulldogs nipped the Devils 7-0 with 1:18 to go in 1974's title game.
2000: Devils Lose Late to Commerce 17-14
The Tigers got some revenge from their 1999 defeat when Monte Williams brought the Tigers back in the 4th to overcome Lincoln County's lead. Our Red Devils tried to keep the ball out of the dangerous Williams' hands with a ball-control offense. This was highlighted by their first drive, taking the opening kickoff and keeping possession into the second quarter in what may be the longest (by game clock) drive in Devil history.
1999: Devils Upset Commerce 35-21
Commerce was undefeated and #1 behind Monte Williams running; Williams rushed 19 times for 167 yards and a 34-yard reception for 3 touchdowns in the first half. However, he was stopped for no gain on 4th-&-6" at midfield in the fourth quarter. He was held to 25 yards on 12 carries in the second half as the Devils made adjustments at the half to stop the great running back; LC realized that had they started the game with those changes, Commerce would have adjusted at the half. LC scored on two fumbles in the first 4 minutes, another in the 4th quarter, and recovered a kickoff fumble to clinch the upset victory.
1998: Devils Score Last to Nip GAC 35-34
In what, at the time, was called the most exciting high school game at the Dome, Lincoln County scored on a run with less than 3:00 to go to win. The game went back and forth in the kind of scoring shootout that Lincoln fans usually don't see.
1997: Lincoln County Comes Up Just Short in Dome Debut, Losing to Manchester 6-3
A week earlier, no one had expected Lincoln County to be making its first visit to the Dome, as the Red Devils headed way down south to play Miller County. The Devils stopped Charles Grant and "shocked the world" with a 14-12 win in the "Thriller in Miller". Manchester had beaten Trion 40-0 to earn its Dome ticket. The Manchester TD was questionable: LC had stopped the Blue Devils on 4th down, but an official said LC had called a timeout. On their second chance, Manchester scored on a 2-yard run. Devil QB Kenn Barnett was very banged up after this & the Miller game, but booted a 78-yard punt that may still be a Dome record. Manchester ran over Irwin County in title game, and LC ended ranked as #2. This marked the first time in Devil history that they lost and scored exactly 3 points.