St. Albans picked up its first win of the season to celebrate homecoming in style at Crawford Field on Friday night.
The Red Dragons defeated visiting Lincoln County 24-6 to snap a 14-game losing streak that dated back to the 2018 season.
“Anytime you’re searching for a win, it really doesn’t matter how you get it — you just want to make sure that you get it,” St. Albans coach Nick Watts said. “It keeps things rolling and keeps the kids believing in what you’re trying to do.”
St. Albans started strong, scoring on its first offensive possession of the game. Quarterback Justice Warner hit receiver Alex Musick for a 26-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-23.
In the second quarter, Lincoln County looked to even the score by nearing midfield until Rodney Toler intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
“He came across and just motioned in, and I just took advantage of it when I saw it and scored,” Toler said of the play.
On the Panthers’ next possession, Lincoln County found the end zone on a 21-yard touchdown rush by Austin Parsons. As the extra-point kick failed, St. Albans held a 12-6 lead.
Lincoln County held St. Albans on the Red Dragons’ ensuing drive. However, the Panthers threw another second-quarter interception that was returned to the Lincoln County 19-yard line. On the first play of the SA drive, Hunter Payne scored on a rushing touchdown. The Red Dragons led 18-6 after their third failed extra-point attempt of the game, and St. Albans held that advantage through halftime.
“We just couldn’t really get anything going offensively,” Panthers coach Randy Adkins said. “The defense did pretty good. I felt good about our chances coming in here, but offensively we couldn’t get anything going. They did a good job shutting us down.”
The teams played a scoreless third quarter. Toler added the second half’s lone touchdown on a 16-yard rush with 6:12 remaining in the contest.
For the Red Dragons, the victory marked the program’s first since winning 32-28 at Nitro on Aug. 31, 2018.
“It means a lot,” Toler said of the win. “Coming from 0-6, now we just get a chance to prove to everybody that we can step up and be that team.”
The win reinforced the positive strides the St. Albans squad has made this season despite entering with a winless record, Watts said.
“We’ve shown a lot of improvement this season,” Watts said. “The record hasn’t shown it, but throughout the year we’ve really improved in a lot of areas, and with that kind of improvement, if you want to keep it moving, you have to have some wins built in there. We came out and executed. We were focused. We came out the second half with even more focus and it speaks for itself. Good things happen.”
Toler finished with a game-high 139 rushing yards on 16 carries. Payne carried 17 times for 88 yards and a 19-yard touchdown. For Lincoln County, Isaiah Smith finished with 19 rushing attempts for 93 yards.
St. Albans next hosts Spring Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Lincoln County hosts Clay County at 7:30 p.m. Friday.