LINCOLNTON, Ga. --- With two long scoring drives and a back-breaking fumble return to end the first half, Abbeville put a hurting on its native son Larry Campbell and Lincoln County 21-0 on Friday night.
It was the Red Devils' second loss in a row to the team from Campbell's hometown in South Carolina, and the first time Abbeville has ever won at Buddy Bufford Field. Lincoln County leads the series 6-2.
"They never beat us and hadn't wanted to play us for 15 years when they called us up," said Campbell. "I should have known something then."
Jermaine Thackson scored two rushing touchdowns and Gavagio Enwright returned a fumble 79 yards on the last play of the first half to lead Abbeville, ranked No. 8 in South Carolina' s Class 2A.
But what stood out in the game was the frustration of Lincoln County, which showed in several late hits out of bounds and some chippy play. The poor composure was exemplified by Allen Crite, who was ejected in the third quarter after throwing his helmet at Abbeville's Sammy Head.
It was the first time Lincoln County has been shut out since a 3-0 loss at home to Washington-Wilkes on Sept. 15, 2006 -- which turned out to be the Red Devils' only loss that season.
"We did something I've never seen us do before -- we kind of quit," said Campbell. "The heart of our football team are good kids, but we've got some front-runners. They ain't never been in a position like this."
Campbell knew he had his hands full with an Abbeville team that just had its 33-game regular-season winning streak snapped a week ago. The bounces went a different way Friday as things turned badly for the Red Devils in the closing minute of the first half.
On the final play, Red Devils quarterback Garrett Mohr opted not to throw and took off running toward heavy traffic on the right. He had the ball stripped from behind, and it bounced directly into the hands of Enwright, who sprinted 79 yards for a touchdown with no time left of the clock to make it 14-0.
"It was huge," said Campbell of the play. "We thought it was an illegal forward pass. We had got a big break getting the ball with the fumble and then it goes the other way."
The Panthers and Enwright picked up where they left off in the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Enwright broke up the middle and to the left sideline for 55 yards to spark and 80-yard touchdown drive and a 21-0 Abbeville lead.
The Red Devils never mounted a serious scoring drive or got further than the Abbeville 35. Tailback A.G. Middlebrooks rushed for 52 yards as the Red Devils compiled a season-low 89 yards rushing and 159 total on just 46 offensive plays.
Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219 or email@example.com.
ABBEVILLE (S.C.) 21, LINCOLN COUNTY 0
PLAY OF THE GAME: Instead of throwing the ball in the end zone with no time left in the first half, Garrett Mohr tried to run and fumbled the ball directly to Abbeville's Gavagio Enwright , who returned it 79 yards for a 14-0 Panthers lead at the break.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jermaine Thacker had 136 total yards and two touchdowns while Enwright had 132 offensive yards and a fumble return touchdown.
WHY ABBEVILLE WON: The Panthers were more than a match physically and athletically, creating long drives and stuffing Lincoln County's offense.
WHY LINCOLN COUNTY LOST: The Red Devils lost their composure as Abbeville frustrated them on both sides of the ball.
NEXT: Lincoln County (3-1) plays at Commerce on Friday at 8 p.m.