Those Washington-Wilkes Tigers will go for a fourth straight win over our Red Devils this Friday night in Tigertown.
A win by the home team will tie the all-time series at 36-36-6. The game will be broadcast live on by WJBF on MeTV 6.2. Click for more info from WJBF
The game is also available on radio and online. Depending on cell service, we hope to provide scoring updates online here during the game.
While neither team is ranked going into their game this year, this matchup remains one of the top and most-heated rivalry games in Georgia, if not in the south. The fact that the series is within a game of being tied after 77 games and 93 years adds to the rivalry. One-sided rivalries don't have the fire this one does. The saying about a certain college rivalry is also true of this game and series - "good old-fashioned hate".
A big part of that comes from familiarity. We know them and they know us. Many homes are divided - one parent from W-W and one from LC. One generation may go to one school, and the next to the other school.
Both schools have long and storied football traditions, and are in the top rankings in many categories. (I'm obligated to say that Lincoln County usually ranks higher!)
Now, as we've said before, if there's a problem in one of the counties, the other will be right there helping resolve the issue. But when it comes to football, well ...
See you Friday night in Washington. The pigskin flies at 7:30.
LINCOLNTON- Lincoln County's 2015 Red Devils jumped off to a strong start as they pounded McCormick 41-6 in the season opener for both teams.
This Friday the Devils will make their biennial trek on US 378 to face the Tigers. The game will be the season opener for Washington-Wilkes, and the first game as a head coach for new Tiger boss Jacob Kelley. Coach Kelley was the Tiger offensive coordinator a few years ago before getting the call to return to replace Robby Robinson. Robinson returned to McIntosh County Academy after four W-W years.
The Lincoln County vs Washington-Wilkes rivalry continues to be one of the most-heated matchups in Georgia and the Augusta area. The Tigers have a chance to even the series if they are able to win their fourth in a row over the Devils. Kickoff is 7:30, but stands are expected to fill way before that.
Starting with two wins in 1922, Lincoln County now leads the series with McCormick 36-10. The victory was the 23rd straight for the Georgia team, after a 14-6 Chief win in 1974 when McCormick was a top-ranked South Carolina team. The last loss to McCormick in Lincolnton came in 1951.
The Red Devils were clicking on all cylinders against the Chiefs, as the offense and the defense both played very well. Head Coach Kevin Banks and his assistants had their charges well-prepared, with few penalties and no turnovers.
The Devil Defense, with Howard Ellis returning the Devils to his successful hard-hitting style of a few years ago, all but shut down McCormick's star running back. Mataeo Durant managed only 46 yards on 12 carries. His longest run of the night was a 70-yard kickoff return, but the Devils caught him before he scored. The only Chief points were setup by the return plus an offsides penalty, and then the Devils barely gave up the TD on fourth down from the 3.
On offense, Quay Hartfield and Jamal Norman led the rushing attack. Hartfield rushed 10 times for 68 yards and 2 TDs. Norman carried the pigskin 7 times for 66 yards and one score.
Sophomore Javon Reid started at quarterback and played well despite a thigh bruise. Blake Beggs took over in the third quarter and completed his first pass for a 25-yard touchdown. He would connect on two of his three pass attempts for 52 yards. Austin Parks caught both of those.
Both teams picked up first downs on their initial possessions of the game, but neither could get a sustained drive going. The Devils' field position improved with each possession, with LC taking over on the Chief 41 after a good defensive stand and short punt.
Quay Hartfield, this season sporting jersey 5 instead of 24, rushed for three yards. Jayden Robinson ran for four before Reid gained three and a first down. Hartfield then went left and stiff-armed a Chief for 15 yards, to the 16. Two plays later Reid rambled on the right side, using his blocker for a 13-yard gain to the three. He then scored from there with 1:13 left in the opening quarter of the season. Ryan O'Neill kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Devil Defense recovered a fumble at the Chief 27 to end the next McCormick drive. Norman rushed for 15. Norman then scored from the 12 with Hartfield blocking on the right side. O'Neill's PAT put the Devils up by 14 with 11:26 left before the band marched.
The Chiefs picked up one first down before Tydarius Elam snagged a fumble at midfield. Reid passed 10 yards to David Byrne. Robinson rushed for 11 then 2 to the 26. Norman rushed for four before Hartfield scored from 22 yards out. With the kick, the Devils went up 21-0 with 5:26 left in the half.
Then came Durant's outstanding kickoff return for about 70 yards. He first went left, then reversed field with only two Red Devils between him and the endzone. They held him up down the field until help arrived and tackled the great runner at the LC 12. These Devils don't stop playing until the whistle sounds. The Devil Defense played tough, forcing 4th-and-5 at the 7 before an offsides penalty gave McCormick a first down at the 2. Three plays lost three yards against the reinvigorated Devil D before Durant barely got the ball across the goalline on fourth down with 14 seconds left in the half. A bad snap on the PAT left the home team with a 21-6 lead at the break.
After a Chief punt on their first possession of the second half, the Devils took over at the Chief 44. Parks was not able to make the catch on a pass near the goalline. Robinson rushed for 14 yards for a first down at the 25. Then Parks got another chance, as Beggs ran the same play and this time Parks snatched the ball and scored. The Devils faked the PAT effort but the pass failed. Lincoln County led 27-6 with 8:21 left in the third quarter.
The short kickoff went out-of-bounds, but the Chiefs were unable to take advantage of their best field position of the night. Three plays gained zero yards, and McCormick punted again.
Beggs and Parks connected again, this time for 27 yards and a first down at the Chief 16. Hartfield then ran straight in untouched for his second TD of the night. With O'Neill's kick the Devils led 34-6 with 4:50 left in the third.
The visitors started from their 9 after a penalty on the kickoff return, and went backwards from there. Three plays lost four yards and forced a punt.
Big Red started from the Chief 36. Norman gained 10 for a first down at the 24. After a pass barely missed, Norman rushed for 17. Elam scored from the 7 with 11:32 left in the game. The PAT took the score to 41-6. The rest of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Here's a look around Georgia at games on interest on the first week of 2015 Prep Football
The big shocker, to some people, happened Thursday night when Jenkins edged Savannah Christian 15-14. Jenkins (the city school in Savannah, not the county school in Millen) has not had a strong football program. Savannah Christian is usually strong, although they seem to have lost some of their all-stars to Calvary Day in recent years.
Dwight Hochstetler, a long-time competing coach at Greenville and Bowdon, retired from the latter during the off-season. He was hoping Bowdon would hire his son as his replacement but that didn't happen. Bowdow was shutout 14-0 by Central-Carroll. Hochstetler is now an assistant to his son at Manchester.
Westside, the only team to pound the Red Devils last year, was itself pounded by Evans 49-7. Evans and Aquinas had a battle in their scrimmage a week earlier.
Robby Robinson lost his first game back at McIntosh County Academy after leaving W-W during the offseason.
Ware County, where former LC assistant David Shields is the athletic director, is off to another good start with a 42-7 shellacking of Brooks County.
Thomson pounded Jefferson County 55-22. The Bulldogs welcome strong Washington County to the Brickyard next.
Buford, with all their talent, defeated a private school from Maryland 27-20. Georgia schools were 7-2 against schools from other states Friday night.
Warren County, coached by Red Devil Cherrard Freeman, almost overcame Putnam County but lost 20-14.
Vidalia, coached by format LC assistant Lee Chomskis, whipped Swainsboro 21-0.
Washington-Wilkes had the week off, giving them an extra week to prepare for their season opener and big game against Lincoln County.
Media Coverage Picks Up as First Kickoff Approaches
Local and statewide media coverage is picking up as the opening week games are this Friday.
Augusta Chronicle LC Preview:
WRDW LC Preview:
Lincoln County failed to make the Top 10 in the Class A in either of the preseason polls. Aquinas is ranked #2 behind Mt. Paran in the Sportswriters Poll.
Aquinas returns their QB and receivers, and has some good young running backs. One projection has them winning their subregion over the Devils. Those same projections put LC at #17 overall, but #6 among public schools, and a 7-3 record.
The GHSA Executive Committee approved several changes earlier today that will significantly change Peach State prep athletics for years to come.
In Class A, the opportunities to make the playoffs will improve as the number of playoff teams is increased 50%, from 16 to 24 in both public and private brackets. Ranked by power ratings, teams 9 through 16 will host teams 17 through 24 in what has been a bye week in recent years. Those winners will then travel to play teams 1 through 8.
With a working title of "The Big 44", the new largest classification will include the largest schools in the state. Most of those are from the greater Atlanta area. Adding that seventh class will reduce the number of schools in Classes AA through AAAAAA to about 60 each. Due to geography, some regions may not have four teams to send to the state playoffs. In those situations, the power rating system will be used to complete the brackets.
Another change will affect those schools that have more than a handful of students attending that live outside the county where the school sits. If 3% of their student body are from outside the school's county, they will be moved up a class. This does not affect teams in Class A or Class AAAAAA.