LINCOLNTON - An improved and focused team of Red Devils played hard to the last second, but came up short 26-21 against their arch-rival Washington-Wilkes here last Friday night.
QB Monquavious Leverett led the offense with 127 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown. Kolbi Ferguson rushed 21 times for 119 yards. Leverett complete one of his six pass attempts, for 11 yards to Brevin Gartrell.
As a team, the Devils outgained the Tigers 344-294 in yards and 17-15 in first downs. Almost all the Devils' yardage was on the ground, while the visitors split theirs passing and rushing.
The Devils earned one first down on their initial possession on a 15-yard run by Ferguson. The drive fizzled with the Tigers starting from their three after a great punt and coverage. W-W moved the ball downfield on a 39-yard run and 12-yard pass before the Devil Defense stopped the drive on downs at the LC 9.
Leverett had three good runs totaling 41 yards on the next drive. The Tigers stopped the drive at the W-W 38. The Devil punt barely went into the endzone giving the Tigers a new set of downs at their 20. Good defense prevented a first down. Kevon Franklin returned the Tiger kick 14 yards to the W-W 46.
Darien Elder rushed for 25 but the big gain was nullified by a motion penalty. On the next play Ferguson broke through the middle for 29 yards to the W-W 21. Elder scored from there with 6:56 left in the first half. Lane Tuten booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Washington-Wilkes came out throwing, completing four passes including a 15-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the half. The kick was wide right, leaving the Devils up 7-6.
Stretching for additional yards, the Devils fumbled with a Tiger scooping and scoring with 1:11 to go. The W-W quarterback ran for two and a 14-7 halftime lead.
For the Tigers, a good kickoff return and two passes setup a 19-yard touchdown run just over a minute into the third quarter. The extra point kick went wide left. In about four minutes of game time, the Tigers scored 20 points. W-W led 20-7.
But these Devils don't give up. Antavious Brown returned the kickoff 25 yards. Ferguson rushed for five and then seven. Reggie Reid ran for 11 yards, followed by Ferguson for another eight. Leverett kept the pigskin for seven to the W-W 35 before Ferguson bulled ahead for 21 yards. Leverett and Ferguson took turns running the ball until Leverett scored on a three-yard run with 4:44 left in the third quarter. The kick cut the Tiger lead to 20-14.
A 62-yard Tiger pass setup a 15-yard touchdown just 44 seconds later. The PAT pass fell incomplete, but the visitors led 26-14.
Brown returned the next kickoff 33 yards to the LC 43. Franklin ran for 12 and Ferguson six to the W-W 37. Franklin came around the left side and shot 37 yards to the endzone with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Tuten's PAT closed the gap to five points, 26-21.
The Devil Defense forced a punt and the home team got the pigskin back at its 7 as the quarter ended. Leverett, Franklin, and Ferguson drove the ball on the ground, picking up two first downs and getting into Tiger territory. Ferguson almost broke loose on a 15-yard gain to the W-W 28. A fumble lost eight yards and the drive ended at the W-W 37. The Devils punted into the endzone with 6:19 left.
The Tigers gained two first downs before fumbling at the LC 40. Brown recovered at the LC 40 to give the Devils one more chance with 1:26 remaining. Leverett rushed for 29 yards to the Tiger 33. A pass from Leverett to Gartrell gained 11 to the 22 with about 30 seconds left. A run lost four yards before a pass fell incomplete. A procedure penalty cost five yards. Leverett ran toward the sidelines but was caught inbounds and time expired.
The loss drops the Devils to 2-4 on the season, and 0-3 in Region 7-A Subregion B. Remaining junior varsity games have been cancelled since those players are needed on the varsity due to injuries. While a playoff berth now looks doubtful, a winning season remains possible.
Tevin Gartrell did not play due to a hip injury sustained the previous week. He is expected back by the next game. Dawayne Wright is lost for the season after his ankle injury. Other players are also either out or playing with injuries.
The Red Devils have an open date this Friday, which provides a welcome rest and a chance for coaches to prepare for the rest of the season. Lincoln County hosts Greene County October 12.