LINCOLNTON - Kolbi Ferguson ran for 219 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Red Devils to a 49-14 whipping of Hancock Central here last Friday. Ferguson now has 1,165 yards and 26 TDs on the season.
Lincoln County will travel to Macon this Friday for a rematch with Tattnall Square Academy in the 2-seed cross-over game. TSA is 5-4, and is on the bubble as far as making the playoffs. With revenge for their early season loss to the Devils, and to improve their playoff berth chances, the Trojans have everything to play for.
When Devil fans went to sleep last Friday, they thought Lincoln County would be facing undefeated Mount De Sales for the Region 7-A championship. Warren County defeated Aquinas 28-20 for the Irish' second Division loss. The Red Devils, with their single loss, was the top seed for Division B.
But then, Saturday morning, came the news that Hancock Central had used an ineligible player in their win over Aquinas and in other games. The GHSA forced Hancock to forfeit those games. That left the Devils and Aquinas in a tie with one Division loss. Since Aquinas had edged the Devils 10-7, Aquinas was awarded the top seed with the Devils second.
Against Hancock, the Devils ran 61 offensive plays and gained 337 yards and 19 first downs. The Bulldogs managed 176 yards on 45 plays with nine first downs.
Antavious Brown started the game off well for the Devils with a 30-yard kickoff return to the LC 40. Derrick Barksdale caught a 24-yard pass from Keenon Lampkin to reach the HC 19. Ferguson then rushed for seven, eight, and the final six yards to the end zone. The bulled over with just over eight minutes left in the opening quarter. The PAT kick was blocked but the Devils led 6-0.
Hancock called the right play at the right time and hit the right blocks to free their speedster for a 43-yard touchdown run down the middle of the gridiron. The visitors ran for two points to take an 8-6 lead with 6:35 left in the first.
Brown returned the next kickoff 26 yards. Ferguson rushed for ten yards before Colton Willis busted loose for 28 yards to the HC 21. Seven plays later Ferguson scored untouched from the two. The Devils' two-point pass attempt failed with 3:25 left in the first and the Devils leading 12-8.
The Devil Defense and a personal foul flag kept the Bulldogs bottled up and forced a punt. The Devils drove from the HC 40 to the HC 10 before turning the ball over downs.
Another Bulldog possession ended in a punt, with the Devils taking over on the HC 38. Ferguson ran for 13. Lampkin was sacked for a 13-yard loss, but he more than made up for it on the next play. The junior QB faked a handoff on a jet sweep to the right, then slanted to the left for 19 yards. J. T. Bundrick booted a 29-yard field goal with about seven minutes left in the half. The Devils led 15-8.
Hancock gained 27 yards on a big pass play for a first down at the LC 33. The Devil Defense dug in and stopped the Bulldogs on fourth down at the LC 27.
The Devils punted on their next possession. The Bulldogs found themselves in a 32-yard hole after a holding penalty deep in their backfield. Two pass attempts fell incomplete. They then completed a pass, but to a lineman. After the officials finished their work, the Devils had a first down at the HC 19. One play later Ferguson ran untouched into the endzone. Bundrick booted the PAT with the Devils leading 22-8 with about two minutes left in the half.
Brown intercepted a Bulldog pass and returned the pigskin 32 yards for a touchdown, but an illegal block penalty brought the ball back to the LC 47. The half ended one play later.
The Devil Defense kept the Bulldog offense bottled up in the third quarter. A short punt gave the Devils the ball on the HC 36. Ferguson laid a hard hit on a defender in the backfield and kept driving for an 11-yard gain. Willis rushed for 12. Three plays later Ferguson scored from the four. Tank Elder ran for two for a strong 30-8 lead with 7:49 left in the third.
Miles Parks and Kevon Franklin broke up pass attempts to force another Hancock punt. C. J. Zellars almost broke through after a nine-yard gain to the HC 26. He later rushed for eight to the HC 6. Ferguson scored from there with 3:42 left in the third. The kick failed, leaving the Devils up 36-8.
After a Red Devil fumble at the LC 44, the Bulldogs gained a first down on a Devil personal foul penalty. They would then score on a 25-yard pass with 9:19 left. Their PAT pass attempt failed, leaving the Devils ahead 36-14.
Ferguson took the ball on the Devils' next possession and broke through the middle of the line. After running the ball 35 times and playing defense, a Bulldog was able to catch him from behind after 49 yards. Ferguson then rushed for four and then the final dozen for his sixth touchdown of the night. Bundrick booted the PAT with 7:57 left to put the Devils up 43-14.
The Bulldogs failed to field the ball on the ensuing kickoff, with Franklin grabbing the pigskin at the HC 28. Ferguson rushed for 17 before Tevin Gartrell scored from the 11. The PAT failed with 7:11 remaining. The Devils led 49-14. GHSA mercy rules were in effect.
Franklin grabbed a Bulldog pass at the LC 28. The Devils punted. The game ended with the Devils sacking the Bulldogs.
The Red Devils are now 7-2, marking the 45th time in the last 47 seasons that Lincoln County has won at least seven games. Lincoln County is currently ranked seventh in the AJC Class A Public Top Ten. The Devils are seventh in the Class A Public Power Ratings. The top eight teams receive a first round bye before hosting a playoff game the second round. The second eight teams host the next eight teams in the first round.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Tattnall Square Academy in Macon Friday night. Go DEVILS!