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Lincoln County High School’s Falcon football season came to an end Friday night as they were defeated by Shelbyville’s Golden Eagles 19-15.
The Falcons finish with a 3-7 overall record. Lincoln County’s schedule was tough in 2012. Four of their opponents had top 10 rankings during the course of the season.
Columbia won District 8-AAA play at 6-0; Tullahoma, second at 3-2; Franklin County and Lincoln County, 2-3; Shelbyville, 2-4; and Lawrence County, 1-4.
Three teams from the district advanced to the playoffs. Columbia (8-2) hosts Cleveland (5-5), Tullahoma (6-4) hosts White County (4-6), despite finishing in the cellar of the district, and Lawrence County, with an easy schedule, finished at 5-5. They travel to Ridgeway (7-3).
Friday night LCHS had opportunities. With 4:40 remaining in the game, trailing 19-13, Lincoln County had a first down at the Eagles’ nine-yard line. With third down at the one-foot line the Falcons failed to score.
“It came down to the last drive,” said Coach Don Thomas. “Our kicking team recovered an onside kick and gave us the opportunity. We moved to the goal line but couldn’t stick it in.
“Defensively, we gave up some third and long situations – the guys played hard, but we didn’t make the plays when we had to have them,” he continued. “You want to win the game and the guys played to the best of their ability – it just didn’t finish the way we wanted.
“This is a great group of young men to coach, and I love them all,” Thomas added. “I know everyone is disappointed.
“We’ve got a lot of experience coming back. Several guys up front got a lot of playing time on offense and even more return on defense. We’ll get started working for next year after our dead period.
“We want to thank everyone for the support this season,” he continued. “Falcon football is an important part of the community, and it’s important we continue to get better.”
Friday night the Falcons won the toss and deferred until the second half. The Eagles bring a lot or return speed to the game. It was a night of the squib and onside kicks for LCHS.
The Eagles recovered the opening kick at their own 43-yard line. It took Shelbyville nine plays to go the distance. With 7:47 the visitors were up 7-0.
LCHS added points their next series. Starting at their own 39, the Falcons went 61 yards in nine plays. Kevin Galloway pushed it in from the one for the score. Stephen Millers’ kick was blocked, and with 5:23 in the first, the Eagles were up 7-6.
Late in the period, Shelbyville moved to Lincoln County’s seven-yard line. Slade Swinford made a big sack, moving the Eagles back to the 20-yard line. Shelbyville was held to a field goal from 33 yards out, and with 11:18 in the second, the Falcons trailed 10-6.
Lincoln County started the third quarter at their own 33-yard line. With 10:17 on the clock, the Falcons had a third and one at the Eagles’ 40-yard line but failed the attempt. With fourth and a foot, Shelbyville helped the push of the Falcon front and took over on downs.
Both teams turned over the ball their following series. The next score came with 4:35 in the third on a 25-yard field goal by the Eagles, and LCHS trailed 13-6. Josh Whitaker got a piece of the kick but not enough to keep it from between the uprights.
Shelbyville recovered the following kickoff on the Falcons 30-yard line. It took the Eagles three plays to put it in the end zone. A two-point conversion failed, and with 3:25 on the clock, the Eagles were up 19-6.
But the excitement was far from over. Late in the period the Falcons started at their own 40-yard line and moved to the Eagles’ 15-yard line. On a fourth and eight situation, Lincoln County came up a yard short, and the Eagles took over on downs at their own eight-yard line.
The Falcons forced Shelbyville to punt from the hold their first series of the fourth quarter. LCHS started at the Eagles’ 37. It took Lincoln County four plays to find the end zone when Kevin Galloway took it in from 28 yards out. Miller’s kick was good, and with 7:51 remaining in the game, Lincoln County trailed 19-13.
The Falcon kicking team gave them the opportunity to win the game, recovering an onside kick at midfield. During the drive Lincoln County used their final timeout of the night with 5:54 on the clock. Jack Cooter picked up a first down at the Eagles’ 20-yard line, then Shelbyville was tagged with a personal foul. With 4:40 on the clock, it seemed the Falcons were on their way for a come-from-behind victory with first down at the nine-yard line. Beddingfield took a keeper around the left side to the four. With 3:21 the Falcons had third down at the one foot line but failed to push it in. On fourth down Lincoln County’s pass was deflected, and the Eagles took over on downs.
Shelbyville started the series with 2:18 remaining in the game. The Eagles used the clock and took a safety with 12 seconds remaining in the game. With five ticks on the clock, the Falcons had one play from the 44-yard line. Beddingfield connected with Christian but came up short of the end zone. Shelbyville finished with the win, 19-15.
The Falcons finished with 185 yards on the ground and 94 in the air. Beddingfield completed five of eight passing attempts. Christian had two catches for 46 yards. Whitaker had two for 33 yards, and Chase Rogers had one for 15 yards. Galloway had 16 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Beddingfield had 16 for 62 yards. Christian was five for 20 yards, and Cooter had two carries for eight yards. Zach Besherse had two tries for one yard.
Defensively, Lincoln County gave up 66 yards on the ground and 166 in the air. Cooter led with 12 tackles; Whitaker, seven; Matt McKinney and Tyler Bennett, six; T.J. Crabtree, Justin Clark and Robert Swart, four; and Quamaine Humphrey, Robert McCants, Chase Rogers, Slade Swinford, and Jarrett Johnson finished with two tackles.