Lincoln Shutouts Mt. Zion 36-0, Travels to Play #1 Irwin County

November 14, 2021

LINCOLNTON - Tevin Gartrell rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns on only 14 carries to lead the Red Devils to a 36-0 shutout of Mt. Zion of Carroll County in the first round of the Class A Public football playoffs.

Lincoln County will travel to Ocilla this week to play the top-ranked and defending state champion Irwin County Indians in the second round. The Indians are 9-2, with the two losses coming at the hands of larger schools and being by a total of five points. Irwin whipped Johnson County 35-7 in the first round. QB Cody Soliday, son of head coach Casey Soliday, has passed for over 1,300 yards with at least 18 TDs. Damarkas Lundy has rushed for over 900 yards with at least 10 TDs.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 Friday evening. Tickets are available online at www.GoFan.com. This will be the Red Devils third visit to Ocilla in south central Georgia. Lincoln County won 37-7 in 1989, but lost 28-14 four years ago.

Mt. Zion tried a bit of trickery to start the game, but their onsides kick effort was recovered by the Red Devils at the LC 43. The Devils marched down the field on nine rushing plays. The big gainer was Semaji Jenkins' 20-yard run to the MZ 13. Jenkins scored on a five-yard run with 7:39 remaining in the first quarter. Cameron Miller booted the pigskin through the uprights for a 7-0 Red Devil lead.

The Devil Defense stopped the Eagles two feet short of a first down on their first possession. Lincoln County took over at the MZ 46 after a 30-yard punt. Jenkins rushed for five with a facemask penalty adding 15 yards. Gartrell took the handoff, sprinted left, and then raced by the defender on the left end to reach the end zone. The touchdown came with 4:49 remaining in the first. The PAT kick went wide left, but the Devils led 13-0.

The Eagles gained a dozen yards before fumbling on the next play. Braelyn Stephens recovered for LCHS at the MZ 33. Josiah Jones drug defenders for 27 yards to the 6. The drive fizzled there, with a 25-yard field goal attempt veering too far left.

The Devil Defense again did their job, preventing an Eagle first down and forcing a punt that rolled to the LC 30. Gartrell burst through the line and headed down the left sideline in front of the home stands. His 70-yard touchdown run came with 11:33 left in the first half. The kick failed leaving the Devils up 19-0.

Mt. Zion briefly crossed into Lincoln territory on their next possession. The Eagle quarterback was sacked for a nine-yard loss by Heath Creswell, assisted by Donald Owens and Brentson Hearst. A penalty stifled the Devils' next possession, with Judson Beggs punting.

The Eagles picked up a first down at the LC 37 on a 20-yard pass, and reached the 33 on a run. Region 8-A Public Athlete of the Year Trey Huff caught the Eagle rusher for a four-yard loss. Two incomplete passes led to the Devils taking over on downs at their 37.

Gartrell broke loose again, for 31 yards to the MZ 32. Three plays left the Devils a ball short of a first down at the MZ 23. Huff gained two yards to keep the drive going. Zellars gained 15 over the right side, to the MZ 4. Three plays lost three yards, with Miller booting a 25-yard field goal with 34 seconds left in the second quarter. The Devils led 22-0 at halftime.

The Eagles managed only two yards on their first possession of the second half. After their punt, the Devils marched 69 yards on ten plays. Gartrell and Jenkins each had 10-yard runs. Zellars scored untouched from the four with just over five minutes remaining in the third. Miller's kick increased the Devil advantage to 29-0.

Mt. Zion came up short on fourth down near midfield, starting the Devils at the LC 48. A holding flag stifled the drive, with Beggs punting to the MZ 9. The Eagles fumbled after completing a pass. Joshua Simmons recovered for Big Red at the MZ 14.

Zellars rushed for 11, with Jenkins gaining another yard. Gartrell rushed two yards through a wide hole in the middle of the line for his third score of the game. The extra point kick gave the Devils a commanding 36-0 lead with 11:51 remaining in the game.

The fourth quarter moved along quickly under GHSA's mercy rules. The Eagles managed a 19-play drive with five first downs. The Devil Defense saved the shutout as a fourth-down play gained nothing as the game ended. The Devils had won their 129th GHSA playoff game.

Mt. Zion totaled only 87 yards in offense until the final 60-yard drive. The Eagles converted on only one of nine third down attempts. Mt. Zion had scored at least 14 points in each game this season, until they visited Lincolnton. The Eagles' last previous shutout was two years ago.

The game kicked off at 5:00 last Saturday due to an officials shortage. All Class A Public, Class A Private, and Class AAAAAA playoff games were played Saturday to have sufficient officials available. Officials must undergo additional training to qualify for playoff games.

Looking at other Region 8-A Public teams, Washington-Wilkes whipped Gordon Lee 28-7 and will host #2-ranked Brooks County Friday night. Commerce lost to Bowdon 35-0 and Social Circle fell to Trion 55-21.


THE STATS
Stat - LC - MZ
First downs - 19 - 9
Rushing - 44/345 - 36/102
Passing - 1/4/4/0 - 4/12/45/0
Punting - 2/41 - 4/160
Penalties - 5/40 - 9/68
Fumbles/Lost - 0/0 - 4/2