2017-08-24 / Front Page

WJBF to broadcast Devils season opener

The Red Devil offensive line has been practicing non-stop in preparation for the opening game against McCormick set for Friday, August 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m. 
(Photo by Jane Ellyn Aaron). The Red Devil offensive line has been practicing non-stop in preparation for the opening game against McCormick set for Friday, August 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Photo by Jane Ellyn Aaron). Great anticipation has settled over the entirety of the Lincoln County community as an all-too slight crisp of autumn has begun to hint at an appearance, ushering in everyone’s favorite time of year – football season.

The Red Devils are back and gearing up for an exciting season of Friday night football, as they rush to take Buddy Bufford Field by storm and play their hardest for the cheer­ing stadium of onlookers.

“Go, Big Red!” could not get here fast enough, according to most of the community, but the wait will soon be over as the boys take on the McCormick Chiefs in the season opener slated for tomorrow night, Friday, August 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

After a successful scrimmage game against the Evans Knights, in which the Devils pulled out a two- point win – 16-14 – Head Coach Kevin Banks expressed his enthusi­asm for how well the team did.

Regarded as a good team by the head coach, he explained that “the scrimmage against Evans went okay, but I thought that the younger guys did a really good job. We let our older guys play the first half, and the younger ones took the sec­ond half – they came out and played really hard.

“Going up against them really helped us a lot. Anytime we can match up with someone who’s a bit bigger than we are is a good thing,” he added.

“If we can stay injury free we’ll be okay. We don’t have a lot of kids this season,” Banks said, including that a few of his older players have recently been injured.

However, the silver lining, ac­cording to the coach, is that his younger boys have had a chance to play and grow more.

Banks is now beginning his fourth year as head coach, and he’s joined by Assistant Head Coach Kenn Bar­nett, Defensive Coordi­nator

Howard Ellis, Co-Offensive Coordinators Alex Bradford and Brian Lewis, Defensive End Coach Tyler Beale, Defensive Line Coach Shedrick Wynn, Offensive Line Coaches Donald.Wheeler..and.Jer­emy J..

Gantt, and Tight End Coach Travis Lee.

Some of the standout senior players Banks is anticipating good performances from are quarterback and wide receiver Midarious Rob­erts, defensive end Antonio Wil­liams, running back Jamal Norman, defensive tackle Travon Leverett, quarterback and cornerback Javon Reid, offensive linebacker Jayden Robinson, and “our new guy [de­fensive tackle] Ronnie Gowen, who’s going to help us out a lot when he gets healthier.

“Our senior kicker William Le­Roy is going to be big for us this year,” Banks said. “He’s a very promising kid, and on top of that he’s probably the smartest kid in this school.”

To add to the lineup’s success, quarterback Reid has not only proven his devotion to the Red Devils – having helped lead them in seven wins last season, while completing a solid 1,000 yards passing and rushing throughout the fall – but has been chosen by The Augusta Chronicle as one of its annual “Dream 16” picks.

“That’.s. the. main. thing,. the. tra­dition,” .

Reid told The Chronicle. “Because there’s a tradition, a lot of people look up to you. You have to take charge and lead.”

“Some of the younger guys that’ll step up are defensive tackle Levion Lockhart, tackle Tyrece Cullars, and defensive tackle Javon Wynn. They’re in 10th grade,” the coach added.

Shifting attention to the season opener against McCormick, Banks reminded the community that this is a televised game, and that it will be aired on WJBF News Channel 6.

“The biggest thing is that the kids play hard, that they play well, and that no one gets hurt,” he said. “Mc­Cormick has a new coach this year, and they still have their all-world running back – he’s now committed to Duke – that we’re up against.”

Banks also expressed his antici­pation of the second year of the set two-year football schedule. As was the case last year, after McCor­mick, he explained that the Devils will face a triad of difficult games against Grovetown, Abbeville, and Stratford.

“If we get through that three- game stretch we’ll be okay, but it’s going to be tough, so for now we’re looking at McCormick,” Banks said. “But, the guys are excited, and giving us all they can give us for the season. It’s not just the kids that are excited, but it’s the parents too.”

It isn’t only the LCHS coaches and community that have an eye on the Red Devils this year, but so do many other individuals and enti­ties within the state as The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) recently published its composite list of pre­Georgia season state football rankings, of which the Red Devils polled at the number 10 spot out of 15 schools that made the rankings in the Class A Public list.

The rankings presented by The AJC, and produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, addi­tionally included five other polls in the consensus. Input was collected from the Georgia Sports Associa­tion, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Score Atlanta, Maxwell Ratings, and MaxPreps. Out of those enti­ties polled, Georgia Public Broad­casting ranked Lincoln County at number eight, Score Atlanta ranked them at number seven, and Max­well Ratings mirrored The AJC and positioned them in the 10th spot.

No matter what the season may bring, the tradition of supporting the boys in red is sure to hold strong within the community.

Furthermore, the Red Devils will face other opponents as shown in the 2017 schedule published in “Devil Mania,” a special supple­ment to The Lincoln Journal this week.

In keeping with tradition, this season the Lincoln County Broad­cast Network will continue to air the games live on WLCZ 98.7 FM.

For the 33rd season, Doug New­man will do the play-by-play, and he will be joined in the broadcast booth by Leighton Taylor, Benton Be­langia, and John Belangia who will provide the color and stats.

“Our pre-game show kicks off at 7 o’clock, so be sure to tune into 98.7,” Taylor said.

The game may also be heard live on the Lincoln County Government website and viewed the following week on the local cable access channel (Channel 13).

Timmy Brady is serving as the camera man.

Fans can likewise watch the games live for a small fee by sub­scribing to the “High School Sports Network” at http://wwwnfhsnet­work.com/schools/lincoln-county- high-school-lincolnton-ga.

As the football season progresses, donations of water, Gatorade, or Powerade, are always welcome by the team.

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