Late TD Lifts Red Devils Over Elbert County 27-20

October 10, 2020

ELBERTON - Keenon Lampkin scored with less than a minute remaining to lead Lincoln County to its first win in Elbert County's Granite Bowl. The Red Devils defeated the Blue Devils 27-20 to improve to 3-2.

The Red Devils will next play October 23 when they welcome the Social Circle Redskins for Homecoming. Towns County cancelled its October 16 game with Lincoln County due to COVID-19.

Tevin Gartrell ran 16 times for a TD and 78 of the Devil's 135 ground yards. Lampkin added 58 on 10 carries with a touchdown. Lampkin completed three of seven pass attempts for 51 yards. Colton Willis led receivers with one catch for 28 yards.

In the beautiful, 68-yard-old venue, C. J. Zellars started the game off well for the visitors with a 70-yard kickoff return. Unfortunately a holding flag brought the pigskin back to the EC 40. Gartrell gained three and then six yards. Lampkin picked up the first down with a three-yard run to the 28. Lampkin gained two. Lampkin then handed off to Gartrell on a jet sweep that was good for 24 yards to the EC 2. Zellars slanted into the endzone for the touchdown with 8:38 remaining in the first. Tristan Tankersley booted the PAT for a 7-0 Red Devil lead.

The Devil Defense held the Blue Devils to three yards on their first possession, forcing a punt to the LC 29.

Gartrell went around left end for 19 yards. Lampkin ran 17 around right end. Flags started flying against both teams, leaving the Red Devils with a 3rd-&-1 at the EC 26. Lampkin called his own number and picked up two yards for the first down. Three plays later, facing 4th-&-1 at the 18, Lampkin gained eight, and then five. Gartrell scored from the five when he rushed virtually untouched on a left slant to pay dirt. The PAT came with 22 seconds left in the opening period and put Lincoln County up 14-0.

The home team drove to the LC 41 before the Devil Defense stopped the quarterback to force a punt. An illegal block penalty started the Lincoln drive at the five, with the Devils netting a single yard before punting. The punt was poor and bounced backward to the LC 22. The Blue Devils scored on a five-yard run with 4:36 left in the half. The extra point cut the Red Devil lead to 14-7.

The Devil's next punt was partially blocked, with Elbert starting from the LC 31. The Devil Defense withstood the threat and forced a punt. Starting inside their 10, the Red Devils ran out the first half clock to lead 14-7 before Elbert County crowned their Homecoming Queen.

In a light drizzle, Elbert County took the second half kickoff and marched 60 yards for a first down at the LC 17. Three plays gained five yards before the Devil Defense broke up a fourth down pass attempt to end the threat. The Blue Devils used over seven minutes of game time but came up empty.

The Red Devils came up inches short of a first down at their 20 and punted to midfield. The Red Devils were called for defensive pass interference on a pass many thought was uncatchable. This set up a 31-yard touchdown as the third quarter ended. The PAT kick tied the game at 14-all.

A 28-yard pass from Lampkin to Colton Willis earned a first down at the EC 42. Two plays later Elbert intercepted a pass after it was batted up. A personal foul and a sack backed Elbert to its 25. The Blue Devil quarterback looked for a receiver, but found Johnny Wise instead. Wise snagged the ball and scampered 30 yards untouched to the endzone for a pick six touchdown. The PAT effort failed, but the Devils led 20-14 with 7:45 remaining.

On their next offensive play, Elbert broke a 46-yard run to the LC 12. Two plays later the Blue Devils scored on a 10-yard run. The kick went wide left, leaving the game tied at 20-all with 6:34 left.

Wise returned the next kickoff 20 yards to the LC 39, but a first down was not achieved. Caleb Willis boomed a 55-yard punt that started the Blue Devils at their 20. They also failed to make a first down, and returned the ball to Lincoln County at their 40.

Gartrell ran for one and a pass fell incomplete. Zellars rushed for four. Facing 4th-&-5 at the EC 35, Miles Parks caught a Lampkin pass for 21 yards. Gartrell then ran for two and four yards. Lampkin bootlegged the pigskin into the endzone with 0:38 left. Tankersley booted the PAT for a 27-20 advantage.

But the game wasn't settled yet. A 14-yard kickoff return was aided by a personal foul flag. Elbert passed for 20 and then five to reach the LC 25 with less than 20 seconds remaining. Two passes fell incomplete before a fourth down aerial was good for a final gasp with three seconds remaining. The final pass was caught but the Devil Defense smothered the receiver shy of the end zone and time ran out.

The Red Devils improved to 3-2 as they completed their schedule of non-region games against larger schools.

A varsity football team from Lincolnton last played in Elberton in 1939, but at a different location than the current landmark field.