Originally created 09/12/98

Inspired rally earns Lincoln win over Chiefs



LINCOLNTON, Ga. -- Being a Lincoln County Red Devil means never giving up, never relenting and never doubting your coach.

The Red Devils pulled off a miraculous comeback Friday night against McCormick in a battle of No. 1 teams in their respective states. The No. 1 South Carolina Class A Chiefs (2-1) squandered a 28-6 lead and watched No. 1 Georgia Class A Lincoln County rattle off 32 points en route to the Red Devils 38-28 victory.

In what probably was greatest comeback in Lincoln County (2-0) history, it was a tremendous passing game and a resilient running game that propelled the Red Devils' comeback.

Senior quarterback Kenn Barnett scored two rushing touchdowns and passed for another in the final two quarters as McCormick's lead slowly dwindled. The Chiefs missed their chance to end 24 years of futility against the Red Devils.

"At halftime we looked back to that '74 team that lost and they never heard the end of it," Barnett said. "We came out flat in the first half, we underestimated them."

It was a two-man show in the first half as the Chiefs dominated. When Torvarius Middleton wasn't stealing the show with touchdown receptions of 58 and 11 yards, Torrey Murray was weaving his way through the Lincoln County secondary.

Murray carried the ball 10 times for 69 yards in the first half, including a three-yard scoring run that capped a 12-play 71-yard drive in the first quarter. The Red Devils didn't come alive until after Middleton's second touchdown reception.

Lincoln County marched 62 yards on eight plays before Allory Norman scored on a 9-yard option play with 11:18 remaining in opening half. Exavier Wright intercepted a Rondell Calhoun pass at the Red Devil 39 on the Chiefs' next possession.

The home crowd's jubilation didn't last long. On Lincoln County's first play, Norman rolled back to attempt a half-back pass but was stripped of the ball, Rod Quarles pounced on it and returned it for a 31-yard score.

The Red Devils narrowed the margin to 28-12 when Barnett connected with Torri Zellars for an 8yard touchdown pass with 1:12 left in the second quarter.

Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell said his team refused to surrender when trailing by 16 at halftime.

"I haven't ever come from 22 points down," Campbell said. "The greatest thing is we didn't quit."

Barnett's passing and Zellars' catching rejuvenated the Red Devils in the second half. The junior receiver electrified his teammates with a 57-yard touchdown catch with 7:58 left in the third quarter to cut the Chiefs' lead to 28-18.

Barnett, who completed 11 of 22 passes for 247 yards, hit Shedrick Wynn for a 25-yard completion on the Red Devils next possession. The tight end fumbled the ball but teammate Navaderick Stokes scooped it up and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. With 5:00 remaining the in third stanza, McCormick's lead had been trimmed to 28-24.

Zellars finished with three receptions for 113 yards while the Red Devils defense smothered a one-dimensional Chiefs offensive attack in the second half. McCormick 103 yards of offense in the final two periods with 46 of that coming on a reception by Murray in the waning moments of the game.