Turnovers, Mistakes Shutout Devils

September 16, 2006

Turnovers and other mistakes shutout the Devil offense Friday night in a 3-0 loss to arch-rival Washington-Wilkes.

The Tigers booted a 35-yard field goal with 5:13 left in the game in what would be the only points of the contest. The kick came after the Devils mishandled a punt attempt at their 37. The Tigers picked up one first down to get into field goal range.

The Devils totaled 257 yards offense to 102 for the Tigers, and led in first downs 14-5. Unfortunately, the most important stat of the night was fumbles lost, and the Devils led it 3 to 1. All 3 were inside the Tiger 30, including at the 1 into the endzone for a touchback.

The Tigers now lead the long-time series 32-31.6 This was the first shutout of our Devils since the 2002 season opener, also against Washington-Wilkes, 22-0 in Lincolnton. This is only the 15th shutout during The Campbell Years, now including 463 games; during those 35 seasons, opponents have been shutout 10 times more often (152).

This is only the second time in Lincolnton football history that the Red Devils have lost a game 3-0. The previous 3-0 loss was to Putnam County in 1970 in Eatonton.

Lincoln County took the opening kickoff and marched into Tiger territory on runs of 10 and 20 yards by Darell Norman. The drive stalled at the W-W 34 with the Devils failing on fourth down. After an exchange of punts, the Devils had moved inside the Tiger 30 when a fumble ended the drive early in the second quarter.

After the Devil defense forced another Tiger fumble, Big Red drove from its 27 to the Tiger 14. The big play was a 43-yard run by Franklin Jones when he almost broke loose to the endzone. Darell Norman scored from the 14 but the TD was nullified by a holding penalty at the 13. A fumble on the next play ended the threat. The Tigers then had their only productive drive of the first half, moving to the LC 29. A 45-yard field goal attempt fell short as the half ended and the game tied 0-0.

After stopping the Tigers on the initial possession of the second half, our Devils drove from their 28 to the W-W 10. A pass interference penalty at the goal line gave the Devils 1st-&-goal at the 5. Brandon Barden rushed for 4 yards but fumbled while struggling for the endzone. The ball bounced into the endzone where the Tigers recovered for a touchback. Lincoln had kept the ball for nearly 9 minutes and 16 plays, but had come up empty.

After another Tiger punt, the Devils started at their 34. Three plays netted 3 yards. The punt attempt went awry, and the Devils recovering a fumble and being stopped at their 37. The Tigers rushed 5 five times for a total of 16 yards. The 35-yard field goal was good with 5:13 left in the game.

Lincoln County could get nothing going on its next possesion, punting to the Tigers at their 38. Washington-Wilkes fumbled on its first play with Darell Norman recovering at the Tiger 45 with 3:24 left Barden, Darell Norman, Rontae Norman, and Jones moved the ball on the ground to the 14 with 40 seconds and no timeouts remaining. A pass attempt was tipped with the Tigers intercepting with 13 seconds left to secure the win.

The Red Devils have next week off before starting their Region 7-A schedule with Aquinas September 29.