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Lincoln County High School’s Falcons took a tough loss Friday night, falling to Giles County 35-33. It’ll go down in the record books as an “L”, but for those who waited out the lightning delay at Meadows-Thompson stadium, the feeling at the buzzer was “these guys are winners” – at least by those wearing blue and red.
The speed of Giles County put the Bobcats up early 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, all coming in big plays and in particularly by special teams. But from that point on, Lincoln County owned the game, and it wasn’t because the “Cats” called off the dogs. LCHS outscored Giles County 33-7 in the remaining three quarters.
Also a welcomed feeling to Falcon fans was the inspiration from the coaches. Lincoln County is led for the third year by Coach Don Thomas, who calls the defense. Two new assistants are Joe Moos and Nathan King. Moos directs the offense; King comes from the NGA program. Returning assistants are Troy Smith, Steve Edging, Shannon Haston, Lee Smith, Don McNeese and Carlos Hadley. The group managed to keep the Falcons motivated after the first quarter deficit. It was obvious the Falcons were not going to quit buying into the idea of playing hard nose football.
“We had some bad things happen early,” Thomas said. “We were short about seven starters mostly on offense – we’ve got some talented guys but many are young and inexperienced. It took us a quarter to catch up with the speed of the game.
“Giles County scored quick, and a lot of things snowballed their way,” he added. “But the character of our young men came out – they didn’t quit. If we have to spend 30 minutes more warming up, we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play at the first whistle.
“We’ve got a long road trip next Friday night going to Pope John Pall II – hopefully we’ll have a few of the injured back – some of them unfortunately have season-ending injuries, but we’ll keep bringing the best we’ve got.”
The first score of the night for the Falcons came following a fumbled snap on a punt by the Bobcats. LCHS went 31 yards in 10 plays, and Tyler Bennett pushed it in from the two-yard-line. Logan Wheat’s kick was good, and with 4:07 in the second, the Cats were up 28-7.
Jack Cooter took the opening kick of the second half out to the 41-yard-line. The Falcons moved down to the Bobcat five, but lightning temporarily stopped the game. By TSSAA regulations, officials have to clear the field at the sight of lightning and have a 30-minute delay since the last visible strike.
Forty minutes later, play resumed. The fear was the loss of momentum by the Falcons, but LCHS didn’t miss a beat as Josh Whitaker carried it in from the five. Wheat’s kick was no good, and with 9:41 in the third, the Bobcats were up 28-13.
Deep in their own territory, Lincoln County held the Cats their following possession, taking over on downs at their own 23-yard-line. Five plays later, August Hill took it in from the 19, capping off a 77-yard scoring drive. Wheat’s kick was not good, and with 5:32 in the third, LCHS trailed 28-19.
On the following kickoff, Giles County’s speed took the ball down inside the 20-yard-line. With 4:43 in the third, the Cats scored their only touchdown of the three quarters and had the lead 35-19.
But Lincoln County was quick to answer. Quarterback Keller Monks connected with Josh Whitaker and took it 82 yards for the score. Wheat’s kick was good, and with 3:35 in the third, it was a 35-26 ball game.
After holding the Cats on a third and long situation at the 30-yard-line in the fourth period, the Falcons took over following the punt at their own 32-yard-line. Five plays later, Monks connected again with Whitaker, who took it 52 yards for the score. Wheat’s kick was good, and LCHS trailed 35-33.
It seemed the Falcons got the break they needed when Giles County fumbled a punt, and LCHS recovered. But an excessive celebration penalty cost Lincoln County field position, moving them back to the 39-yard-line with 3:02 remaining in the game.
The Falcon’s took it to the 28-yard-line, but the drive stalled. Giles County then took a knee in their final possession to finish with the win.
LCHS put up 498 yards of offense with 233 coming in the air and 165 on the ground. Quarterback Keller Monks was 10 of 25 for 233 yards, two TD’s and three interceptions, one for a Bobcat touchdown. Whitaker had two catches for 134 yards and two scores; Brandon Gower six catches for 63 yards and August Hill, three for 36 yards.
August Hill was the workhorse on the ground with 27 carries for 147 yards and one score. Tommy Sanders, three for four yards; Monks, three for four; Cooter, two for three; and Bennett, two carries for two yards.
Defensively, the Falcons held the Cats to 274 total yards of offense, with 92 coming on the ground and 182 in the air. Jack Cooter led in tackles with 13; Tyler Bennett, eight; Jarrett Johnson, seven; Xavier Schlueter, five; Quamaine Humphrey, four; Josh Whitaker and T.J. Crabtree, three; Logan Wheat, Jacob Lamb and Ethan Warren, two; and Tommy Sanders and August Hill, one.
Kicker Logan Wheat was three of five in PAT’s.
For their next action, the Falcons travel to Pope John Paul II in Hendersonville Friday with game time at 7:30 p.m.
In The Times’ Football Preview last week, the Falcons’ fourth game of the season with Lebanon was shown to be at home – that game is a road trip.