Lincoln County vs Washington-Wilkes.
It's like the Daytona 500 to the local folks. The February race is regarded as NASCAR's biggest event, but winning it by itself will not win a championship. Everyone has worked hard during the offseason, and everyone has high hopes for the new season.
This year's Devil-Tiger battle fits that description very well. Winning it essentially just gives you bragging rights. It's not a region game, and so doesn't count directly in the region standings.
The 2003 tussle will probably be the last time for a while that the two teams will meet in the season opener. W-W is probably moving to Region 7-A in 2004, making this a region game that will probably be played later in the season.
The Tigers are hoping to make it 5-in-a-row over the Devils. Of course the Lincoln Lads are just as determined to end that streak and start their own.
Things have changed dramatically in this series since the last two or three seasons. The Tigers lost heavily to graduation, and their talent pool is not as deep this year as during the past 3 seasons. W-W also has their third head coach in as many years. The Tigers are trying to rebuild after a disappointing 2002 campaign. QB Jamaal Binns will be their on-field leader, with long-time assistant Russell Morgan finally getting a chance at the head job. The Tigers are not ranked going into 2003, but are expected to make the playoffs in Region 7-AA.
W-W will not be heavily favored like the last two years. In fact, the Tigers may even be considered underdogs by some folks.
That's because things are looking up for the Red Devils on the football field. Lincoln County has improved over the last two years, and their talent pool has increased. The classes we have been watching come up through the middle school are now playing. Last year the Devils surprised some teams, and essentially finished the year as the second best team in Class A to Clinch County.
Our Red Devils are ranked as high as #2 in Class A in some polls, and are favored to win Region 7-A. Octavius Andrews and Gavin Williams return to lead the Devils' rushing attack, with Cordarryl Coppin and transfer Travis Clark to alternate at quarterback.