ABBEVILLE - Lincoln County lost to powerhouse Abbeville 10-7 in a lightning-shortened game here last Friday.
While a loss is never good, a three-point loss to the four-time Class AA defending champions, a year after a 57-0 loss, sparks enthusiasm for the Red Devils this 2019 season. Abbeville is expected to defend those titles, is top-ranked in South Carolina Class AA, and is in the top 25 among small schools nationally. The Red Devils have lots to work on, but this result should spur the needed improvements.
The game kicked off about the time the soaking rain started. The wet ball led to a loss on the game's initial possession by the Red Devils. They punted from their end zone, with the Panthers taking over at the LC 25 after a 10-yard return.
The Panthers gained 13 on their second play for a 1st-&-goal at the LC 7. The Devil Defense stiffened to push the home team back four yards in three plays. Abbeville booted a 28-yard field goal with 7:23 left in the opening quarter.
Three plays gained four yards on the Devils' next possession. The Panthers returned the succeeding punt 15 yards to the LC 41. The Devil Defense sacked the quarterback to force a 4th-&-3 at the LC 32. The Panthers rushed for six yards, followed by eight more, to setup a 19-yard touchdown pass with 3:19 left in the first period. Abbeville led 10-0.
The Devils went backwards on their next offensive effort, punting back to Abbeville at the LC 48. The Devil Defense had its best series of the night, knocking the home team back on every play, for a total of 10 yards in the minus column.
After an exchange of punts, Abbeville's returner flipped ball back to another returner, who fumbled the slippery pigskin. After a flag on the Panthers was declined, the Devils were in great position at the Abbeville 17. The Devils came up three yards short on fourth down, turning the ball back over to the home team at the 10. A sack by the Devil Defense put the ball at the one, although some thought a safety may have occurred. After a four-yard gain by the Panthers. officials stopped play and sent the teams to the dressing rooms due to lightning with 5:04 left in the half.
After more than an hour, the officials decided to restart the game with the stipulation that any further lightning would end the game and the game would be considered complete and final.
After the Panthers' possession was complete, the Devils took over and were on the march. Colton Willis ran for 14 to the Abbeville 3. Kolbi Ferguson then scored with 3:31 left in the half. The Devils had cut the lead to only three points, 10-7.
Abbeville showed new life, driving down the field to the 5 on seven rushing players. They lined up to go for the touchdown, but lightning appeared in the sky. After some discussion and coach input, the officials raised the football and declared the game over.
McCormick visits Lincolnton this Friday, with kickoff set for 7:30. McCormick played in the first football game in Lincolnton in 1922. GO DEVILS!