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Stringer escapes Bears

The Stringer Red Devils were very lucky Friday night at PerryMiller Field. The host Region 4-1A West Lincoln Bears were drivingthe football with less than four minutes left to play when theBears fumbled and Stringer recovered. The Red Devils ran out theclock and escaped with a 25-21 win.

It was first win of the season for Coach Bruce Adams and his RedDevils who are now 1-7 overall and 1-6 in region. West Lincoln is0-9 overall and 0-7 in region play.

“We had three turnovers and they had two,” said West Lincolnhead coach Roe Burns following the loss. “That was the differencein the game.”

Despite the loss, junior tailback Stacy Fells broke 1,000 yardsFriday night on a run midway in the third quarter. Fells finishedthe game with 20 carries for 158 yards and scored twotouchdowns.

West Lincoln took the opening kickoff and marched 68 yards toscore on a 10-yard run by senior quarterback Cody Mitchell. JacobMartin kicked his first of four PATs to give the host Bears anearly 7-0 lead.

According to Coach Burns, Martin missed his first two extrapoint kicks in the first game of the season but has not missedanother one since.

At the start of the second quarter, Stringer continued its81-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown run by senior fullback ChrisWinfield. Chris Blancett kicked the extra point and tied the gameat 7-all at the 7:59 mark.

After holding the Bears for three downs, the Red Devils got theball back and drove to their own 30 when West Lincoln cornerbackWeston Young leaped up and intercepted a Josh Anderson pass at thevisitors 30 following a seven-yard return.

The Bears couldn’t take advantage of the break and turned thefootball back over on a fumble at the Stringer 21. The Red Devilsdrove 79 yards and punched in their second TD of the night on a18-yard pass play from Anderson to Winfield with 54 seconds left inthe first half . the PAT kick was deflected and Stringer went intothe dressing room up 13-7.

The West Lincoln defense played well in the third quarter.Stringer was threatening at the Bear 1-yard line and fumbled.Mitchell came up with the turnover for the Bears and that sparkedthe beginning of their longest scoring drive of the night.

West Lincoln drove 99-yards and scored on a 15-yard scramble byFells that gave the Bears a one-point, 14-13 lead over the RedDevils with 3:10 left in the third quarter.

Stringer punched in its go-ahead TD 30 seconds into the fourthquarter on an 11-yard burst by running back Tip Garner. The run fortwo points failed and the Red Devils had retaken the lead19-12.

With plenty of time left, West Lincoln began a 66-yard drivefrom its 34-yard line. Fells found an opening at the Stringer 39and marched straight in for his final TD of the night. Again, theBears had come back and regained the lead at 21-19 with 9:02remaining in the game.

Stringer bounced back, beginning from its 35. The Red Devilsdrove to the Bears 8 when it looked like they would stall followingan offsides call that pushed them back to the 13 on second down andfive to go.

Fells sacked Anderson on the next play for a loss but wasflagged for face mask. The officials moved the ball to the sevenyard line. It took two plays to set up Winfield’s final touchdownof the night from two yards out. The pass play for two pointsfailed but the Red Devils had come back to take a 25-21 lead with4:16 remaining.

“The kids played hard,” added Burns. “They played four quarters.We had the chance to win the last time we had the ball.”

West Lincoln finished the game with 14 first downs and 275 totalyards on offense.

Following Fells in the Bears running game was Mitchell with 84yards on 11 carries. Lee Clark rushed four times for 12 yards.

Defensively, Fells, Clark and Alan Skates led the Bears withnine tackles apiece. Chris Smith made eight stops.

West Lincoln was penalized seven times for 70 yards. The Bearspunted twice for a 45-yard average.

West Lincoln visits St. Aloysius Friday night. Kickoff is at7:30 p.m.