Mistakes added up last Friday night and cost Lincoln County in a 24-20 non-region loss in Grovetown.
The Devils are 1-1 after losing a 20-17 lead with just over two minutes to go in the game against their much larger opponent. Grovetown is a Class AAAAAA school.
This Friday, the Red Devils will travel to Abbeville to face the always strong Panthers. They are the defending South Carolina Class AA state champions from the past two seasons. The Panthers are 19-0-1 during their last 20 games, with the only blemish being their 7-7 tie in Lincolnton last year. Abbeville, again the top ranked team in SC Class AA, is 3-0 and averaging scoring over fifty points per game. Kickoff will be at 7:30. Be there early for a good seat!
Under threatening skies, the Warriors took the opening kickoff and earned two first downs before Antonio Williams knocked the Grovetown quarterback for an eight-yard loss. The Warriors punted, but the Devils muffed the punt with Grovetown recovering on the LC 10. The home team scored on a run on the next play. The PAT kick was good for a 7-0 lead with 6:44 left in the opening quarter.
Midarious "Duke" Roberts grabbed the pigskin for the following kickoff, made two cuts, and outran everyone 85 yards to the endzone. William LeRoy booted the extra point to tie the game with 6:30 left in the first.
A 45-yard pass put the Warriors in scoring position on their next drive. A 34-yard field goal attempt went way wide left, turning the ball over to the Devils at the 20.
Gerard Hearst's first run was good for five yards, followed by a 12-yard pass from Javon Reid to Monquavious Leverett. The drive fizzled, and the Devils punted to the Grovetown 40. The Warriors passed on first down, but Roberts took the pigskin away from the Grovetown receiver for an intereption at the Grovetown 45. Hearst rushed for three before Reid made a good read on the run option, kept the ball, and went down the left side 42 yards for a touchdown. The kick was low, but the Devils led 13-7 with 11:51 left in the half.
The two teams punted until midway in the second when Lincoln took over at its 13. The Devils gained two first downs to the LC 46. Three plays later, Reid found Hearst open at the scrimmage line. Hearst made a clean catch and scampered untouched to the endzone 60 yards away. Unfortunately, there was a yellow hanky laying on the field at the line of scrimmage, nullifying the play due to an illegal block. The Devils backed up from there, punting from their 27.
The Devil Defense stopped the Warriors on their next possession. The Devils went back to work on passes from Reid: 17 yards to Roberts, 7 to Williams, and 6 to Jamal Normam. Another pass attempt was intercepted and returned 30 yards to the Warrior 35.
Grovetown then got a receiver behind the Devil defenders for a 40-yard gain to the LC 25. The Warriors kicked a 38-yard field goal with a tick left on the clock. Big Red led 13-10 at the half.
On the Devils' second possession of the second half, Hearst gained nine yards after steamrolling a Warrior on a hard hit. Norman then went up the middle for 45 yards. Reid-to-Williams was good for 11 yards to the 12. A five-yard penalty wiped out an 8-yard run by Hearst. Reid rushed for 13 before Norman scored from the four. WIth LeRoy's kick, the Devils led 20-10 with 5:11 to play in the third quarter.
Grovetown scored on a 25-yard run with 2:57 left in the quarter to cut the lead to three points, 20-17.
The Devils came back, rushing to a first down at the Warrior 38. An illegal block penalty deep in the backfield put the Devils in a 1st-and-42 hole. A bad snap-exchange dug the hole deeper, 3rd-and-55.
The Devils punted, and the defense kept the Warriors from making a first down near midfield. The Warriors punt put the Devils back in a hole at their own 3. Two runs by Hearst got the pigskin out to the 9, but another snap issue set the Devils back to the 3. The punt was downed at the LC 30.
The Warriors were threatening, but Kevon Franklin intercepted their pass at the LC 8 with 5:32 left in the game. The Devils needed to run out the clock. The running of Hearst and Reid gained one first down, but the drive was stopped at the LC 31. The punt was very short, and the Warriors took over with 2:13 left. Their prime running back took the ball and weaved his way through the Devil Defense to the endzone and a Grovetown lead. The extra point kick put the Warriors up 24-20 with just over two minutes left.
But the Devils still had a chance. Roberts returned the kickoff 30 yards to midfield. Reid then connected with Roberts for 10 yards and a first down at the Grovetown 39. Four passes fell incomplete to end the Devils' chances.
For the game, Javon Reid rushed 13 times for 75 yards with one TD. Jamal Norman carried nine times for 74 yards and one score. In his Red Devil debut, Gerard Hearst rushed for 59 yards on 13 carries.
Reid completed eight of 20 pass attempts for 77 yards with one interception. Roberts led receivers with four catches for 41 yards, plus an 85-yard kickoff return for TD.