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By Hartsville Vidette Staff Reporter

FAYETTEVILLE—Lebanon fell behind 24-0 with eight minutes left in the game but rallied to cut the lead to 24-22 with 75 seconds left.
A two-point run, however, fell a few inches short and with it Lebanon’s season in a two-point loss to the Lincoln County Falcons in a first-round Class 5A playoff game Friday night at the Pit.
The Falcons appeared to put the nails in the coffin early in the fourth quarter as Matt Moran scored on a 20-yard run and Ben Burcham on an 18-yarder. With under eight minutes left the score was 24-0, Lincoln County.
Lebanon, however, did not give up and began a furious rally.
The Devils got a big kickoff return from Ken Walton setting them up at the Falcon 40-yard line. A 22-yard catch by Tazz White got them to the 6 and from there Carlos Gaines went over and quarterback Daley Sallis added the two-point conversion for a 24-8 score.
The Lebanon defense forced a three and out and got the ball back on the Blue Devil 20-yard line. In a mad dash, Cody Tribble caught a 30-yard pass and Walton had two catches for 33 yards. Sallis capped the drive with a 2-yard score and his subsequent two-point run cut the count to 24-16 with 103 seconds left.
Lebanon attempted an onside kick and recovered the ball at the Falcon 47. Two big catches by Walton and a facemask penalty on Lincoln County brought the ball to the 1-yard line. Sallis snuck it over the goal line and, after Gaines was stopped short of the end zone on the conversion, it was 24-22 with 75 seconds left.
Lebanon attempted another onside kick and when the Blue Devils’ Will Caplenor recovered it, it appeared the Blue Devils would have one more chance for a possible victory. But two officals on the far side of the field gave the ball to Lincoln County, ruling Caplenor touched the ball before it went the required 10 yards. Following an argument from Brown, who drew a 15-yard penalty for being on the field, the Falcons went into victory formation and ran out the clock.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and got behind and couldn’t make the deficit up,” Brown said.
Lebanon ended its season at 6-5 while Lincoln County is 8-3 and will travel to Murfreesboro to face Riverdale in round number two of the playoffs. The Warriors wore out Warren County 54-3.
“Lebanon made some plays at the end. I give them a lot of credit they didn’t quit. We hung on and fought till the end and I’m proud of our guys,” said Falcons head coach Louis Thompson, a star Blue Devil lineman in the early ’60s who coached LHS in 1978.
On Lebanon’s opening possession, the Blue Devils moved into Falcon territory at the 33-yard line. On a fourth-and-long play the Devils went for it only to fall short, giving the ball to the Falcons. Lincoln County could not capitalize and punted back to Lebanon.
Lebanon’s next drive went well as the Blue Devils went deeper into Falcon territory. The key play was a 19-yard catch by Robert Crudup.
On a second-down play from the 15, Gaines had the ball but dropped it and Lincoln County recovered the pigskin.
Two plays later, Lebanon had a jaring hit, knocking the ball loose and getting it at the Falcon 23.
William Benford got it closer on a 6-yard carry and Gaines had the ball inside the 10 heading for the end zone but lost the leather and Lincoln County recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchback.
Lincoln County was forced to punt but the return man muffed the kick and the Falcons recovered at their own 48-yard line. It set up the first score of the game, a 33-yard run by Chris Shelton making the score 7-0 with under seven minutes to go in the first half.
The Falcons added a field goal with two minutes left in the second quarter, a 41-yarder by R.J. Sandmeyer to make it 10-0 at halftime.
Lebanon came out with the football and methodically gave the ball to Benford and Gaines, making first downs and moving the chains. The drive stalled at the Falcon 10-yard line. Instead of kicking a short field goal, Brown decided to go for the first down and Sallis threw an interception in the end zone to kill the threat.
“We thought about the field goal, but we knew it would take two touchdowns to win,” Brown said.