Like the previous week in Sparta, our Red Devils jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then had the fight of their lives before finally running out the clock to win 35-32 tonight near Irwinton. The win over Wilkinson County sets up next week's game at The Bud against Warren County as the 7-A Title Game.
Devil fans know Lincoln County has always prided itself on a strong defense. The 32 points allowed in this game are the most allowed in a region game since Larry Campbell's inaugural season in 1972. These are the ninth most points allowed during The Campbell Years, and only the 36th most during 907 games played in the Devils 85-year existence.
This was only the second time since 1922 that the Devils gave up over 30 points and won the game. The previous win in that category was the remarkable 35-34 Dome semifinal game against Greater Atlanta Christian in 1998.
A. G. Middlebrooks led the Devils in offense with 130 yards on 17 carries, including 3 touchdowns. The first started the scoring with 8:25 left in the first when the sophomore broke loose for 55 yards. Carlous Hearst scored from the 1 less than 4 minutes later after Wilkinson turned the ball over on downs at its 34 after a fake punt failed.
After the Devils failed on a field goal attempt late in the first, the Warriors came roaring back with touchdowns on a 1-year run and a 52-yard ramble. A PAT run after the second TD tied at the game 14 with 6:31 left in the first half.
Carlous Hearst grabbed an interception and scampered 38 yards to the 2. One play later Middlebrooks went over from the 3 to give the Devils a halftime lead.
After the intermission, our Devils kept right on going with a hard 29-yard run by Jamareon Green setting up the third Middlebrooks TD. The 2-yard run put our Devils up 28-14 with 9:50 to go in the third.
The joy on the visitors sideline was shortlived, as the speedy Warriors scored on a 49 yard pass less than two minutes later. Their PAT run attempt was stopped by the Devil Defense, but the lead was cut to 28-20.
After stopping Wilkinson on downs the next time, Jafabian Green broke a 25-yard run for the touchdown and, Devil fans thought, a comfortable 35-20 lead with 3:55 left in the third.
But not so. Wilkinson chewed up about 7 minutes on a 14-play, 65-yard drive. Three times the Warriors converted on fourth down as their dangerous QB kept getting loose. A 1-yard TD run with 5:13 left in the game cut the lead to 35-26.
Our Devils muffed the succeeding kickoff, with Wilkinson recovering at the LC 14. Three plays later the Warriors scored from the 6. The PAT run failed, but the Devils were now up by only 3 with over 4 minutes left.
The Devil offensive line hung tough and cleared paths for LC runners as our Devils picked up two first downs and ran out the clock to preserve the important win.