Lincoln County scores early, often

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LINCOLNTON, Ga. --- Larry Campbell will give his Lincoln County team its first day off Monday, and the Red Devils will go into their off week encouraged by their best all-around performance in six games.

The Red Devils earned their first shutout and were balanced on offense in a 37-0 homecoming win Friday over Aquinas. The Red Devils scored all their points before Aquinas advanced the ball past midfield in the Region 7-A opener for both teams. Four different players scored touchdowns for Lincoln County, led by Ercell Daniel's two scores 1:41 apart early in the second quarter.

"I don't care who we were playing in the first half, we just played so well," said Campbell, who improved to 29-1 all-time against the Irish. "We played about as good as we played all year in the first half."

Lincoln County, playing its first game without star running back A.G. Middlebrooks (broken leg), produced points on all of its first-half possessions. The longest of its four touchdown drives was six plays. The Red Devils rushed for 216 yards and four players had 30 or more yards.

"We were just following the blocks, making cuts," said Daniel, whose only carry was a 73-yard scoring run.

Quarterback Franklin Sherman directed the first four touchdown drives, before Garrett Mohr came on and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeVonte Wright. The two passers combined to throw for 181 yards.

"We're fortunate enough to have two pretty good quarterbacks, and they played well," Campbell said.

Nothing worked for Aquinas in a forgettable first half. It ran one play in Lincoln County territory: a double-reverse pass that covered 48 yards. Problem: It was called back for holding. The Irish threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, two of those turnovers coming deep in Lincoln County territory during the second half.

Aquinas freshman Brendan Douglas rushed for 42 of his team's 101 yards. Inefficient passing and poor tackling left Aquinas coaches frustrated after the game.

"All night long we (didn't) make tackles," said first-year Aquinas coach Matt LeZotte, whose team had won its previous two games. "When you don't block and don't tackle, it makes for a long night against a well-coached team like Lincoln County."

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

LINCOLN COUNTY 37, AQUINAS 0

PLAY OF THE GAME: Ercell Daniel returned a second-quarter punt 70 yards down the left sideline, benefiting from outstanding blocking from his teammates. It was his second TD in 101 seconds.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Daniel accounted for touchdowns covering 70 (punt return) and 73 (rush) yards on a night full of big plays for the Red Devils.

WHY LINCOLN COUNTY WON: The Red Devils rarely missed a tackle, punishing Irish ball carriers on every short gain. They also generated 397 yards of offense.

WHY AQUINAS LOST: It allowed five plays of 23 yards or longer in falling behind 37-0 in the first half and couldn't effectively pass the ball on offense.

NEXT: Aquinas (2-3, 0-1) is at North Paulding for its final nonregion game, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Lincoln County (5-1, 1-0) is off.


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