Lincoln County's three-game winning streak against their arch-rival Washington-Wilkes came to an end in Washington last Friday night when the Tigers intercepted a pass in the endzone in the final secords to secure a 22-14 victory. The Red Devils lead the 95-year-old series 39-36-6.
The loss gives Lincoln County a disappointing 1-4 record. This loss was their fourth in a row. The Devils last lost four consecutive games in 2001 when they lost games three through six. Those Devils then won the next five games before barely losing in the second round of the playoffs to end 6-6.
The Devils travel to Sparta this Friday to play Hancock Central. With the divisional loss to Washington-Wilkes, winning this Friday is almost essential to the Devils having a chance to make the playoffs this year. The Bulldogs are having a disappointing season, winless in their first five games. Kickoff is at 7:30 on the field at the high school, northwest of Sparta between downtown and I-20.
The W-W game was sloppy. The officials were busy with 20 penalties walked off for 165 yards, and several more declined. Most of those were against the home team. The umpire took a hard hit late in the second quarter.
Lincoln County's three turnovers were critical. Two were inside the W-W 20 to end scoring opportunities, and the other was at the LC 16 and led to a W-W TD.
Midarious "Duke" Roberts caught seven passes for 95 yards, and returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.
Javon Reid ended the game with 147 yards rushing, completing 10 of 17 attempts. His only interception came in the endzone in the final seconds of the game. Reid rushed 12 times for 88 yards. Gerard Hearst carried nine times for 49 yards, and caught two passes for 41 yards.
Tiger QB Donovan Anthony led the home team down the field on their opening possession. He completed an 11-yard pass before running for 27 yards to the LC 16. The sophomore quarterback then connected with Malik Hall on a screen pass over the middle that went for 32 yards and a touchdown. The Devil Defense had broke up the previous two pass attempts. On the PAT, the Tigers lined up with most players way off from the pigskin, and Donovan pushed over for two points. Washington-Wilkes led 8-0 with 9:15 left in the initial period.
Two Tigers were required to tackle Hearst on Lincoln County's first possession when the senior ran for 23 yards to the Tiger 30. The drive fizzled at the 29. After the fourth down pass fell incomplete in the endzone, a Tiger was ejected for a serious personal foul.
After the personal foul penalty was assessed, W-W began at its 14 and earned a first down at its 32. Wayne Wright intercepted the Tigers next pass at the LC 42. Hearst ran for eight before Jamal Norman rushed for 15. One play later Reid found Hearst open on the sideline. Hearst scampered 34 yards to score. Reid ran for the extra points to tie the contest at 8-all with 1:07 left in the first quarter.
The two rivals each exchanged punts until Corey Danner broke a 50-yard run to the LC 16 with about four minutes left beford the bands played. Anthony passed four yards to Deondre Lester with three minutes left. The PAT run by Donovan gave the Tigers a 16-8 advantage over the Red Devils.
Washington-Wilkes successfully executed an onsides kick, getting the ball at the LC 40. Three consecutive Tiger penalties pushed the home team back to their 45. Donovan and Hall connected again, this time for 48 yards to the LC 5. However the huge gain was nullified since the Tigers had men downfield illegally. The Tigers punted the Devils to their 11.
Reid passed five yards to Antonio Williams before keeping the ball and gaining 25 himself. After a penalty, Reid connected with Wright for 11 yards to the LC 47. Time expired in the half before the Devils could capitalize on the good field position. W-W led 16-8 while the bands took the field.
On the third play of the second half's first possession, Roberts overcame two defenders and caught a 51-yard strike from Reid while Roberts was falling. The first down at the W-W 14 was followed by a 6-yard run by Reid. Then the Tigers recovered a Devil fumble to end the threat with 9:23 left in the third.
The Tigers drove 46 yards on their next drive before punting deep to the Devils. Lincoln County mishandled the ball and the Tigers recovered at the LC 16. Donovan passed to Brock Jackson on the next play to extend the Tigers lead. The PAT run failed, but W-W led 22-8 midway the third quarter.
The cheering of the fans on the home side was quickly silenced when Roberts took the kickoff near the two and zoomed through the Tiger defenders. He scored with 5:07 left in the third. The PAT run came up short, but the lead had been cut to eight points, 22-14.
After more punts, the Tigers moved to midfield before the Devil Defense snared a TIger pass at the LC 48. Reid, on a nine-yard run and on a nine-yard pass to Roberts, earned two first downs. The drive ended when the Devils came up a foot short of a first down at the Tiger 25 with 3:49 left in the contest.
Tiger back Danner broke loose for 39 yards to the LC 36. A penalty hampered the drive, with the Tigers punting from the LC 49 with 1:40 left.
Reid and Roberts teamed up again, this time for a 25-yard pass to the LC 38. Reid ran for nine and then twelve. A personal foul penalty tacked on 15 more, putting the ball at the Tiger 26 with 54 seconds left.
A pass lost two yards before Reid spiked the ball to stop the clock with only 26 seconds left. Reid then ran for 16 to the W-W 12 with 0:16 left. One pass fell incomplete before the Tigers intercepted the next pass in the endzone with three seconds left. The Tigers won 22-14.
The two teams ended tied in yards gained from scrimmage at 313.