Originally created 11/26/06

Prep rewind

Talk about precision.

Lincoln County was sterling in several facets of the game Friday in a 34-0 win against Eagle's Landing Christian Academy.

The offense showed off its big-play capability instead of a more methodical approach. The defense was on the Chargers early and often, allowing only a game-best drive of 37 yards while the starters were on the field.

But the flawless execution came with the starters on the sideline.

The mission was simple: Introduce coach Larry Campbell to the water cooler. A victory shower would ensure chills for his 400th career win. Quarterback Brandon Barden was calling the signals on that one, too.

"We knew we were going to win," senior lineman Logan Rhodes said. "We came off the field after our last series in and Brandon and I locked eyes coming off and shook heads."

The opportunity came in the final minutes.

"I did have a hand in it," Barden said. "We had a problem, though. But we had a little plan going."

The problem was the headset resting on Campbell's head. Every other coach had taken his off. It takes gumption to go for a coach with a water cooler.

It takes even more to risk the pricey electronics on his head.

"We had to have somebody snatch that off," Barden said.

Senior lineman Tony Wells did the snatching and the bath came with 2:31 to go with Barden and Rhodes rising behind of a wall of teammates who hid their efforts.

"We came up with our best teamwork of the night," Rhodes said. "We got that man good. His head was totally wet. ... He squealed when we got him. It was most definitely my best play."

When drying off afterward, Campbell already had a read on the behind-the-back trickery.

"You won't have to tell me the numbers of who did it," Campbell said. "I could've hand-picked them. Wouldn't have needed to turn around. Barden instigated it. Wells went right along. Who was the third? Rhodes? But I knew Barden led all of it. I can guarantee you that. Nobody has ever gotten me like that in a game. Not with Powerade. Been a little better if it had been water. But it was Powerade. That stuff is sticky."

BIG D: Lincoln County's defense has given up a total of 24 points in the Red Devils' past 10 games, including six shutouts.

"That group has just been playing super and continues to play super," Campbell said. "Defense was great again."

OUSTED: Laney lost at Dublin, 37-13, in the Class AA playoffs. But there was little pity to be found. Coach Eric Parker and his team kept their chins up as they walked off the field.

Laney is 47-18 over the past five seasons with a wealth of state playoff experience: two trips to the second round, one trip to the quarterfinals and two Georgia Dome semifinal appearances.

The Wildcats (8-4) had to claw to make these playoffs, having to win their final two games for a fifth consecutive berth.

"This is one of our guttiest teams," Parker said. "In the past, we've had some teams where things kind of fell in place."

STRATEGY: Give Laney credit for trying to take away Dublin's offensive prowess.

The Irish came into the contest averaging 49 points per game. So Laney tried to keep the potent offense on the sidelines.

The Wildcats won the time of possession battle, 28:30-19:30. Laney chewed up six minutes on its first drive but came away with no points after being stopped on a fourth-down try at the 15.

The Wildcats ran 15 plays and killed eight minutes on their 76-yard scoring drive that began the second half.

"We wanted to keep the ball away from them," Parker said. "I don't think there's too many teams that want to get in a shoot-out with them."

WHAT A RIDE: First-year coach Lee Hutto has his Warren County program in rarefied air. The Screaming Devils (8-4) have won two state playoff games for the first time since 1970.

Junior quarterback Tommy Seals was brilliant in the 41-34 win at Landmark Christian. Seals ran 15 times for 257 yards.

The Screaming Devils lost to Roswell 28-12 all those years ago when two wins was enough to reach the state title game.

Staff writer Chris Gay contributed to this story.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.


The area's top individual performers among reported totals:


-- Player, school Att. Yards Avg. TD

-- Tommy Seals, Warren County 15 257 17.1 1


-- Player, school Comp. Att. Yards TD Int.

-- Chris Thomas, Laney 9 24 126 1 0


-- Player, school No. Yards Avg. TD

-- Calvin Britt, Laney 6 105 17.5 1


(Games for Friday, Dec. 1)

Georgia High School Association Quarterfinals

Class A: Hawkinsville (9-3) at Lincoln County (11-1); Warren County (8-4) at Clinch County (10-2)

Class AAA: North Hall (11-1) vs. Washington Co. (10-2), Site TBD

Georgia Independent Schools Association final

Class A: Thomas Jefferson Academy (12-1) at Flint River Academy (13-0)


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