Lincoln can't hold early lead

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ROCHELLE, Ga. --- The overflow crowd at Donnie Clack Stadium was in place and ready to go.

The home team wasn't.

Wilcox County played a first quarter unlike any other this year, watching Lincoln County turn mistakes into points and threatening to take care of any postgame traffic jam early.

But the Patriots shrugged off the funk, pulled within two points at halftime and took over in the second half to beat Lincoln County 34-24 Friday night in a GHSA Class A quarterfinal game.

Wilcox County advances with a 12-1 record while Lincoln County's season ends at 11-2.

Quarterback Lorenzo Dennard started off slowly but regrouped to throw for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Deauntay Legrier scored three touchdowns and played momentum-changing defense to lead the way for Wilcox County.

Lincoln County thought it had control with first-half leads of 21-0 and 24-6 only for Wilcox County to put two touchdowns on the board in the second quarter and turn a potential rout into a nailbiter.

Wilcox County's defense, especially middle linebacker Legrier, was raring to go and stopped Lincoln County on three plays to open the second half only to give it back on an interception. The Patriots held on three plays and started rolling.

The hosts faced only one third down on the drive, and that was their final play, a 10-yard surge by Legrier for the touchdown and finally the lead.

The conversion pass failed, but the Patriots led 28-24 with 3:34 left in the third.

Lincoln County tried to answer, but running back A.G. Middlebrooks, taking the direct snap, stumbled untouched for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1.

The Patriots made it hurt. Wilcox County converted a third down and fourth down on the 11-play drive with Legrier going in from 2 yards out.

And the team that trailed 21-0 earlier had, despite a failed conversion pass, a 34-24 lead with 6:50 left.

Lincoln County took advantage of mistakes early on.

Keestan Wynn blocked a punt, thanks mainly to a snap that bounced back to T.J. Merritt. The Red Devils scored three plays later.

Then, DeChane Willis picked off a pass less than 80 seconds later to give Lincoln County the ball on the 6. Jafabian Green went in on the first play.

Wilcox County suffered through another three-and-out, and Alex Ellis took the punt on the 49, went left and stopped after crossing the goal line.

Barely six minutes had ticked off the clock, and Lincoln County was up 21-0.

Wilcox County finally got going on the next possession. A 36-yard reception by Willie Gibson and 38-yarder by Alfonzo Dennard highlighted the drive, ending with Legrier's 1-yard score, which Lincoln County answered with a field goal.

The Patriots remained revitalized, and led 24-21 at halftime.

"I hated to go in. I wanted to stay out and keep playing." Wilcox County coach Mark Leford said.


Lincoln County 21 3 0 0 -- 24

Wilcox County 6 16 6 6 -- 34

First Quarter

LC--Austin Goldman 1 run (Vance Tarver kick), 9:27

LC--Jafabian Green 6 run (Tarver kick), 7:50

LC--Alex Ellis 49 punt return (Tarver kick), 5:45

WC--Deauntay Legrier 1 run (kick blocked), 1:42

Second Quarter

LC--Tarver 25 FG, 11:20

WC--Willie Gibson 57 pass from Lorenzo Dennard (L. Dennard run), 7:44

WC--Alfonzo Dennard 32 pass from Lorenzo Dennard (L. Dennard run), 0:45

Third Quarter

WC--Legrier 11 run (pass failed), 3:34

Fourth Quarter

WC--Legrier 3 run (pass failed), 6:50

First Downs LC7 WC16

Rushes yards LC119 WC124

Passing Yards LC30 WC287

Comp.-Att.-Int. LC6-11-0 WC15-32-2

Fumbles lost LC0 WC0

Punts-Yards LC3-33.3 WC1-30.0

Penalties-Yards LC7-55 WC7-50


PASSING--Lincoln County: Goldman 6-11-0 30. Wilcox County: L. Dennard 15-32-2 287.

Lincoln County 11-2; Wilcox County 12-1. Wilcox County vs. Athens Academy next Friday at the Georgia Dome.

Comments (7) Add comment
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bigcat57 12/01/07 - 09:46 am
good job young men you all

good job young men you all had a great year.

Pink Lady
Pink Lady 12/01/07 - 10:33 pm
Lincoln County needs a new

Lincoln County needs a new defensive coach. Any team who has a 21-0 lead at the beginning of the game and can't hold that has a pitiful defense! Coach Ellis needs to retire.

ramtruck 12/01/07 - 10:49 pm
When you consider we did not

When you consider we did not have a starter returning to start this season, you have to think we had an exceptional season. When you keep winning with these inexperienced players as the season progresses, you begin to think you can go all the way. This thought process mainly happens because it has happened so many times in the past. Coach Campbell and his staff have done wonders and I salute them one and all. You would need to have lived in a large metro area as I did during a span of 15 years and see the lower level of competition and coaching that was in existance at that time. Working as a P A announcer, I worked at least 2 and sometimes 3 Games a week, so I can speak with some authority. Lincoln Co should be and is proud of their Football team and coaching staff.

mason2 12/02/07 - 04:05 am
I disagree with the comment

I disagree with the comment that the defense lost the game. Wilcox has a very good offense. For the most part our players were in position to make the necessary plays. However, missed tackles made the difference. I attribute part of that to the defense being tired. They stayed on the field most of the night. Even though the devils were up 21-0, the offense had only run about five plays.

SouthernPride 12/03/07 - 08:39 am
Wilcox was a very, very good

Wilcox was a very, very good team and they will win the state this year. We are very proud of our boys. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be a better team next year. It's nice to see teams like Wilcox have a stellar year, even your ECI team because teams like that are usually a 2-8 or 3-7 team every year. That's the difference between us and them, we'll be back next year and they won't.

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