LINCOLNTON, Ga. — Antonio Williams stole the season-opening spotlight from the anticipated stars, scoring touchdowns every time he touched the ball in the first half as Lincoln County cruised to its 25th consecutive win over McCormick, 41-8 on Friday.
Williams hauled in touchdown receptions of 34 and 30 yards from Javon Reid and weaved 66 yards for a kickoff return score as the Red Devils opened up a 34-8 halftime lead.
“It felt pretty good getting the ball in my hands; it’s the first time I’ve scored in a varsity game,” said Williams, a senior. “This is the beginning of a championship team.”
Lincoln County (1-0) scored every possession in the opening half, with Jamal Norman rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown while Riccardo Hawes added 40 yards and touchdown as well. Norman and Hawes finished with 98 and 72 yards, respectively.
Senior transfer Gerard Hearst, the son of former Lincoln County-Georgia-NFL star Garrison Hearst, didn’t play for the Red Devils due to a broken toe.
Lincoln County has won 25 consecutive games against its South Carolina neighbor from across the lake since last losing to the Chiefs in 1974. The Red Devils have outscored the Chiefs 172-22 in four meetings since Kevin Banks took the reins, eclipsing 40 points each game.
Last year, Lincoln County outgained McCormick 330-33 in offensive yards in a 41-0 romp.
McCormick star running back Mataeo Durant, who committed to play next season at Duke, was held in check with 76 yards on 16 carries Friday night.
The Chiefs drove 66 yards for a touchdown late in the first half, converting a fourth-and-5 with a 16-yard Durant run and a third-and-22 on a deep lob to Tyler Dean. Quarterback Dillon Walters scored on a 13-yard keeper and threw for the conversion pass to cut the Lincoln County lead to 27-8 with 1:49 left in the first half.
Williams, however, answered with his 66-yard return touchdown on the ensuing kickoff to send the Red Devils into halftime leading 34-8.
Reid added a 30-yard touchdown run on a busted play in the third quarter.
“I didn’t want want Javon to run at all, but he may be our best runner,” Banks said. “He’s going to be a big part of what we do on offense.”
McCormick drove to the Lincoln County 4 in the third quarter only to fumble the ball away when Durant was drilled by Jayden Robinson. The Red Devils outgained the Chiefs 329-153.
“We’re going to throw it around this year but we came out and tried to establish the run and I thought we did pretty good,” said Banks.
Lincoln County came out grinding with senior running back Jamal Norman rushing 40 yards before a 10-play opening drive ended in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Reid to Williams uncovered up the seam to stake a 6-0 lead.
McCormick’s hopes of keeping pace took a bad turn when Walters’ pass on the Chiefs first play from scrimmage went through the hands of his intended receiver and was intercepted by Duke Roberts and returned to Chiefs 38.
Norman made them pay, covering all 38 yards in seven carries including a 4-yard touchdown for a 12-0 lead with 3:18 left in the first quarter.
The Red Devils weren’t done yet.
Williams got alone deep again on a fourth-and-11 play and caught a 30-yard strike from Reid to make it 27-0 in the second quarter before McCormick countered with its only scoring drive of the night.