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New Lincoln County coordinators get familiar results

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When Larry Campbell heard Mike Doolittle might be interested in returning to high school football, the veteran coach quickly pushed aside countless other applications.

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First-year offensive coordinator Mike Doolittle was an assistant at Gardner-Webb University before joining Lincoln County. He wanted to work with Red Devils coach Larry Campbell, whom he calls "a living legend."   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/staff
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/staff
First-year offensive coordinator Mike Doolittle was an assistant at Gardner-Webb University before joining Lincoln County. He wanted to work with Red Devils coach Larry Campbell, whom he calls "a living legend."

Campbell was looking for a new offensive coordinator after Eddie Roberts left to become Monticello's head coach before this season. Doolittle wound up taking the job, and with Kevin Banks' promotion to defensive coordinator, the Red Devils entered unusual territory.

It was the first time since Campbell took over as Lincoln County's coach in 1972 that he recalls having to replace both his offensive and defensive coordinators entering a season.

"We have very little turnover," Campbell said. "Very seldom do we have one (coaching change)."

The Red Devils' success has continued this season as Lincoln County is 9-2 and visits Darlington in the second round of the Class A playoffs tonight.

Campbell said at a school the size of Lincoln County, it is necessary to adapt the offense to the people returning. So Campbell knew what he wanted, and Doolittle fit.

Doolittle used to coach at Ninety Six in South Carolina, where he won two state titles, and was most recently an assistant at Gardner-Webb University.

The Runnin' Bulldogs were in spring practice when Doolittle got the call from Campbell.

They talked for about 30 minutes, and after Doolittle came in for an interview, it took him two weeks to "break the ties I had" at Gardner-Webb.

He said he learned new techniques there, but mostly it has been about tweaking the little things while at Lincoln County.

Doolittle, who said he missed the excitement on Friday nights, first met Campbell when he was the offensive coordinator at Greenwood. They got to know each other more when their teams participated in passing leagues.

Now the coaches are on the same sideline.

"The Good Lord puts you where he wants to," Doolittle said. "I got a chance to work for a living legend."

The Red Devils are averaging 38.7 points per game this season and have scored less than 21 in a game only once just one season after scoring 20.2 points per contest.

Doolittle is quick to give credit to the players' chemistry, an improving offensive line and the ability to spread the ball between two quarterbacks, three running backs and four receivers.

On the defensive side, Banks took over for the retired Howard Ellis.

"We're both a little fiery," Banks said about himself and Doolittle. "We have wars at practice sometimes."

Though defensive tackle has been an area of concern, Lincoln County is giving up only 10.1 points per game.

"Both have been very easy to work with," Campbell said. "It's been one of my most enjoyable years."

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