MACON - Turnovers played a big part in last Friday's Region 7-A crossover game here against Tattnall Square Academy, but in the end it was the fumble that wasn't lost that decided the game 34-28 in the Red Devils' favor.
After four turnovers by Lincoln County and one by Tattnall, regulation ended tied 28-28. The Devils won the overtime toss and the Trojans got their chance first. On the first play their running back was headed for a sure touchdown until he fumbled at about the one. Players from both teams chased the pigskin out of the endzone for a touchback, ending Tattnall's scoring opportunity.
Then it was the Devils' turn. Dawayne Wright picked up a first down at the four. Kolbi Ferguson took the handoff and fumbled just shy of the goalline. He fell on the ball, and then the officials conferred for what seemed like forever. Then the referee in the white hat raised his hands skyward - touchdown. Ferguson had recovered his own fumble.
Ferguson led the Devil ground force with 84 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries. Tevin Gartrell carried nine times for 74 yards and one score. QB Monquavious Leverett ran 13 times for 50 yards and a touchdown, and completed two of three pass attempts for 71 yards and a score. Wright caught both passes.
On a sweltering evening in Macon, Tres Kelly returned the opening kickoff 14 yards to the LC 39. Leverett found Wright open deep for 41 yards to the TSA 20. Two plays later Leverett ran for six to the 12. Ferguson gained eight, followed by his two-yard run. The second-generation player went up the middle for the final two and the Devil's first touchdown. Lane Tuten booted the PAT with 9:25 left in the opening period.
The Trojans earned two first downs before the Devil Defense forced a punt from midfield. The Devils went backward on their next possession and punted.
Tattnall moved deep into Devil territory until they faced a 3rd-and-4 at the LC 28. Ferguson and Kelly combined for a three-yard Trojan loss. The home team then went for the first, but Wright sacked their quarterback for a five-yard loss and the ball turned over on downs.
The Devils moved into the Trojan side of the field before fumbling the pigskin away at the TSA 45. Tattnall scored on a 47-yard touchdown pass with 5:57 left in the half. The extra point tied the game at 7.
Kelly rushed for 14 yards to the LC 39. Two plays later Ferguson broke four tackles for a 22-yard gain to the TSA 38. Gartrell had back-to-back nine-yard runs, followed by a nine-yard run by Ferguson to the 11. A fumble ended the threat.
Three plays later Wright intercepted a Trojan pass and returned the ball 10 yards to the TSA 30. Gartrell then found Wright open for 30 yards and a touchdown. The PAT put the Devils up 14-7 with 1:51 left before the bands marched on the field.
Before the fans could retake their seats, the Trojans returned the next kickoff about 80 yards to re-tie the game at 14.
Penalties put the Devils in a big hole deep on their end of the field. The officials then ruled LC lost a fumble after the play was apparently stopped. TSA booted a 30-yard field goal as time expired to take a 17-14 halftime lead.
On its first possession of the second half, Tattnall drove 12 plays to the LC 10 but the Devil Defense held the goal line and forced a 27-yard field goal. TSA was up 20-14 midway the third.
Coach Michael Pollock showed confidence in his offense when he went for it on fourth down and 1 at the LC 34. Ferguson powered through the left side for eight yards. On the next play Gartrell took the handoff, turned upfield and was gone for 58 yards with 2:40 left in the quarter. Kicker Tuten's boot gave the Devils a 21-20 lead.
After swapping punts, the Trojans scored on a 16-yard run with 7:29 left in the game. Their two-point conversion run gave the home team a 28-21 lead.
After a 20-yard return by Kevon Franklin, Leverett ran for 12 yards and then four to the TSA 43. Two plays later Wright ran for 12 to the 35. Ferguson went up the middle for 20 big yards to the 15. Leverett kept the ball for 10 before going untouched on a five-yard TD run. The kick tied the game at 28-28 with 4:50 left. The defenses controlled the final minutes of regulation.
The Red Devils will visit Augusta this Friday to play rival Aquinas in their first subregion game of the season. The Irish are 3-0 with wins over Laney, Harlem, and Wilkinson County. They are still smarting from the Devils' 12-6 victory last season. The pigskin will be booted at 7:30. Go Devils!