LINCOLNTON, Ga. - This was the year Warren County thought it had a team that could compete with Lincoln County. But the Red Devils showed the Screaming Devils who's still in charge of this rivalry.
A.G. Middlebrooks and the Red Devils' staunch defense led Lincoln County to a thrilling 14-7 victory over Warren County in a matchup of top 10 Class A teams at Buddy Bufford Field. The top-ranked Red Devils (8-0, 5-0) held No. 8 Warren County (6-2, 4-1) to only two first downs in the second half and scored the game-winning touchdown on Middlebrooks' 6-yard run with 9:49 left in the game.
Lincoln County, which gave up an unusually high 32 points last week to Wilkinson County bounced back with an inspired performance defensively. It allowed the Red Devils to win their 20th game in a row, their 30th region game in a row, and their 33rd consecutive victory in the series against Warren County.
Middlebrooks ran for 142 yards for the Red Devils, who out-rushed Warren County 274-108.
"(Last week) was motivation for us, that's all it was," said Middlebrooks, a sophomore. "We all knew we had to tighten up. We said it all week. We are a great team, and we can win every week if we do that."
After a scoreless first half, which was dominated by defense, Warren County struck first on their opening drive of the second half. The Screaming Devils capped a four-play 61-yard drive with Kentrell Latimore's 40 touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
Lincoln County answered with a 10-play 55-yard drive capped by Jafabian Green's 1-yard run. Warren County never could get any offense going in the second half, and Middlebrooks completed the scoring early in the fourth quarter.
"Anytime you're in a big game like this it's all about defense, and they made more stops than we did," said Warren County coach Lee Hutto. "We kind of ran out of gas there at the end and didn't make the key stops."
Warren County came into Friday night with high hopes as its only previous loss came to Class AA Swainsboro. Lincoln County, however, took over first place in the region heading into a big matchup next week at Twiggs County.
For Lincoln County, Jamareon Green ran for 87 yards, mostly between the tackles. Latimore led Warren County with 43 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Tommy Seals was held to 8 yards rushing and 56 yards overall.
"Giving up 32 points last week was unusual for our defense. I think our kids took it a little personal," Lincoln coach Larry Campbell said. "But anytime you get a win you're happy, so I'm just happy we won."
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.
LINCOLN COUNTY 14, WARREN COUNTY 7
PLAY OF THE GAME: Lincoln County running back A.G. Middlebrooks ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 9:49 left to provide the game-winning score.
STAR OF THE GAME: Middlebrooks, a sophomore, rushed for 142 yards and Lincoln County's defense held Warren County to six total first downs.
WHY LINCOLN COUNTY WON: The Red Devils relied on their defense and running game, which allowed them to outrush Warren County 274-108.
WHY WARREN COUNTY LOST: The Screaming Devils couldn't do much of anything offensively, finishing with only 156 total yards.