LINCOLNTON, Ga. — Washington-Wilkes ran its newfound dominance in the Highway 378 rivalry series to three in a row with a 36-10 romp over Lincoln County on Friday night at Larry Campbell Stadium.
The senior-laden Tigers (1-0) manhandled the Red Devils wing-T offense all night while junior quarterback DeAndre Harris passed for four touchdowns and ran for another in Washington-Wilkes relentless hurry-up offense.
“How about three in a row,” Washington-Wilkes coach Robby Robinson said to his team before it started chanting “Three-peat” in the post-game huddle.
Red Devils still lead the all-time series 36-35-6, but the Tigers have won three in a row in decisive fashion. Washington-Wilkes’ longest winning streak in the series since 1960 is four in a row from 1999-2002.
The Tigers dominated defensively in the first half to build a 22-3 lead, but the Red Devils came out with a little spark to start the second half with a six-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 10-yard Quay Hartfield touchdown run to cut it to 22-10.
After a rare Tigers three-and-out that followed, the Red Devils drove to midfield but failed to draw Washington-Wilkes offside on fourth-and-1. After the ensuing punt, Harris tossed a screen pass in the right flat to Tyrique Pender, and the junior sprinted past the Lincoln County defense up the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown and a 29-10 lead that extinguished any thoughts of a Red Devils rally on Buddy Bufford Field.
“I was really pleased with our defense especially the first half,” said Robinson. “I don’t know why we got complacent there but we fixed it and scored again and pretty much had the ball game under control from there.”
Lincoln County (1-1) showed little of the firepower that routed McCormick 49-8 last week after racing to a 42-0 halftime lead. The Red Devils gained only 36 rushing yards and one first down on a fumble in the first half, the lone highlight soming in the opening minutes courtesy of a smothered punt attempt at the Tigers’ 11. The ensuing 1-yard drive yielded only a 27-yard Ryan O’Neil field goal and a brief 3-0 lead.
Lincoln County’s first-year head coach Kevin Banks left field immediately and was not available for comment.
Washington-Wilkes answered in a hurry with a 75-yard drive capped by a 39-yard deep touchdown strike on fourth down from Harris to Devarious Smith. It was the first of two fourth-down TD connections in the half between Harris and Smith, the latter 16 yards that made it 22-3.
Harris also connected on a 16-yard screen pass touchdown to Bradley Jefferson. The defense earned a safety when it forced Lincoln County quarterback LaKeith Lockhart into an intentional grounding from the back of the end zone.
“Just get it to the athletes and let them make plays,” said Harris.
The Red Devils avoided worse damage in the first half with a pair of interceptions.
The hurry-up was too much for the smaller Red Devils roster to handle.
“Our guys have taken to it and we don’t have any players going both ways which is a big advantage to us and I hope we can get faster and faster each week,” Robinson said.
“We feel like we can be really explosive on offense. We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do and a long way to go, but any time you can beat Lincoln County in this rivalry it’s a good win.”