No one other than the Lincoln County Faithful gave our Devils a, uh, "devil of chance" to win in Washington Friday night.
But those faithful knew that whenever our Devils walk on a football field, there is always a chance they willl pull out a win.
Lincoln County showed Washington-Wilkes and the standing-room-only crowd that it was ready from the opening whistle. The Devils marched 72 yards on 11 plays with Rontae Norman rushing for 20 and Darrell Norman gaining 12. Shawntavius Jennings gained 9 before scoring from 2 yards out with 6:09 left in the opening quarter. The PAT kick was just wide right to keep the lead to 6-0.
At this point some of the Devil fans may have remembered that the Devils led in each of the 4 games that comprised the losing streak at the end of 2004 and beginning of 2005. Each time the opposition came from behind to win the game.
Washington-Wilkes unleashed its powerful running game, moving inside the Lincoln 10 before the Devils made a big stop. The Tigers settled for a 23-yard field goal with 35 seconds left in the first.
After stopping our Devils on their next possession, Kelmetrus Wylie broke loose on a 61-yard run. The PAT gave W-W a 10-6 lead with 5:50 left in the half. A Devil turnover gave the Tigers another scoring opportunity, but the Devil Defense made another goalline stop as the first half ended. W-W led in total yards 200-113 at the half.
The Devil Defense stopped the Tigers on the opening possession of the second half, with LC taking over on its 30. Rontae gained 11 and 14, and Darrel scampered for 17 to within inches of the goalline QB Brandon Barden went in from there to put the Devils back up, 13-10, with 5:35 left in the third.
The Tigers took advantage of a 50-yard kickoff return but again was stopped near the goalline. A 27-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the third tied the game at 13.
But these Devils wouldn't give up. After forcing a Tiger punt midway the final quarter, Lincoln drove for a touchdown in 9 plays. Barden scored from the 3 with 2:42 left in regulation.
The Tigers still had time to score. The Tiger QB threw only his third pass of the night, and quickly wished he had it back as the Devils intercepted and then ran out the clock to seal the amazing victory.
Barden finished the night with 71 yards rushing on 15 carries. Darrell Norman added 67 on 7.
Wylie, Tigers #5, rushed 22 times in the game for 138 yards. The Devils bent but did not break except on the long TD. Halftime adjustments cut Tiger rushing production to only 66 yards in the second half, with only 2 first downs for a total of 9. The Devils had 16 for the game, converting on 6 of 10 third down attempts.
After the game Devil Coach Larry Campbell thanked the news media for that extra bit of motivation as they all picked the Tigers to win. The Augusta Chronicle projected W-W a 27-0 winner.
Lincoln County extends its winning streak to 5 games, but must now quickly quiet the elation from the win over W-W to prepare for a very tough and speed squad of Screaming Devils from Warren County. Those Devils are 7-1 after whitewashing Glascock County 46-0 Friday night. Kickoff is 7:30 next Friday in Lincolnton, with the game likely to decide the Region 7-A title and the top 2 playoff seeds from our region.
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