LINCOLNTON - You're the opposing coach and find out Lincoln County has designated your game as "Homecoming." Maybe it's best if the bus breaks down on the way to Buddy Bufford Field.
For the 39th consecutive time, Lincoln County won its Homecoming game. This year it was 48-0 over Hancock Central. Head coach Larry Campbell always worries about his team being distracted during this game, but his Red Devils looked pretty sharp as they jumped to a 21-0 first quarter lead and 35-0 halftime advantage.
The Red Devil offense accounted for nearly 300 yards offense before the Homecoming Queen was crowned, and over 400 yards for the game. Ercell Daniel led the ground attack with 95 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 5 carries. Sherrod Jones carried 13 times for 69 yards with 1 score.
Tyler Banks led the receiving corps with 7 grabs for 127 yards and one TD. Mason Saggus caught 5 for 54 yards and one TD. Franklin Sherman completed 9 of 12 attempts for 141 yards, with Garrett Mohr connecting on 6 of 13 for 63 yards. Each QB had a touchdown pass.
Leading rusher Craig Jones didn't see any action due to an ankle injury suffered in practice.
Lincoln County won the toss and opted to get its offense on the field first. Sherman connected with Banks for 28 yards and then found Saggus for 40 and the first touchdown. The PAT kick was good with the Devils up 7-0 only 82 seconds into the game.
After a Bulldog punt, the Devils drove and scored on Sherman's 1-yard keeper left with 3:56 left in the opening quarter. The Devil defense forced another punt. Daniel rushed for 18 before Sherman passed to Saggus who tightroped the left sideline to within 6 inches of the goal. Daniel scored from there with 6 seconds left in the quarter.
The two teams swapped turnovers, with Trey Brown intercepting for the Devils. Sherrod Jones broke loose for 65 yards with 4:03 left in the half. On their next possession the Devils drove six plays in 1:35. Mohr passed for 10 to Rusty Scott, Jones rushed for six, and Mohr-to-Banks was good for 7. Mohr went back to Banks for the final 23 for the Devils' fifth TD of the half. Dylan Arthur made his fifth PAT kick in as many tries for the 35-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Sherman connected with Banks for 33 yards to setup a 7-yard run by Daniel for the points with 7:11 left in the third. Jones closed out the scoring with 10:26 left in the game on a 5-yard run. Max Ashmore booted the PAT. The fourth quarter was played under the GHSA's running-clock rules.
The Red Devils last lost to a team from Sparta in 1958, and that loss was by a single point, 20-19. The Devils have won 24 times since then. The two teams met in Warrenton in 1959, when Sparta entered the game undefeated and unscored upon. The Devils won 10-0 as Weems Pennington Jr., with Bobby Freeman holding, kicked the Devils' first field goal. Since then, the matchup has not been closer than 20 points.
Lincoln County is off this coming week as it prepares for its annual battle with Washington-Wilkes on October 15 at Buddy Bufford Field. The Tigers played Wilkinson County tough for most of their game this past Friday night before second-half turnovers increased the final margin to 28-7 in favor of the Warriors. W-W plays Twiggs County this week.
In other Region 7-A action, Warren County rebounded from their loss in Lincolnton last week with a 46-13 win over Twiggs County. Aquinas had the night off.
The Red Devil junior varsity will host Harlem Thursday afternoon at 5:30.
Photos courtesy Sparky Newsome and The Lincoln Journal.