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LEWISBURG —The Lincoln County Panthers saw their playoff hopes come to an end in the regular season finale at Greenbrier East on Friday night as the Spartans secured a home playoff game with a 61-22 win.

Coming into the game the Panthers were on the outside of the playoff field looking in but had a shot to jump into the Top 16 in Class AAA if they could upset the No. 8-ranked Spartans on the road.

It was not in the cards however as Greenbrier East pulled away from the Panthers, and LCHS saw its season come to an end at No. 23 in the final Class AAA ratings with a 4-6 record.

The game was tight early on at Spartan Stadium as head coach Bradley Likens’ Lincoln County team actually took an early 8-7 lead with 6:57 left in the first quarter after an 11-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Smith and a successful two-point conversion.

The host Spartans then went on a 20-0 run over the next seven minutes and took a double-digit lead at 27-8 with 11:42 left in the first half.

The Panthers would fight to keep the deficit at 19 going into halftime as they traded touchdowns with Greenbrier East before the end of the second quarter.

Smith broke free for his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 54 yards out as they cut the lead to 27-14 with 9:58 in the quarter.

After the Spartans scored two more times to push their lead to 41-14 late in the first half, Smith scored for the third time of the first half as the senior playmaker returned the kickoff 95 yards to the house for the touchdown.

Senior QB Gabe Bates ran in the two-point conversion, and the Panthers cut the score to 41-22 going into the halftime locker rooms.

The second half was all Greenbrier East as they shutout Lincoln County for the rest of the game and outscored them 20-0 in the final two quarters to come away with the 39 point win.

Smith capped off a monster senior season with another huge night statistically for the Panthers as he ran for 153 yards on the ground on 26 carries and added 181 total yards in the return game.

For the season the all-time leading rusher in Lincoln County history topped the 1,500 yard mark in only 10 games as he finished with 1,503 yards rushing and 20 total touchdowns in 2021.

Bates finished 10-25 in the passing game for 84 yards, no touchdowns, and a pick-six. He also lost a fumble in the third quarter. Senior Luke Adkins led the way in receiving as he three passes for 46 yards.

Defensively, the Panthers were once again led by senior middle linebacker Nolan Shimp as he capped off a 100-plus tackle season with a team-best 13 stops against the Spartans.

Shimp finished the 2021 regular season with 155 total tackles in only 10 games, good for an average of more than 15 tackles per game. He also led the team with two interceptions including a pick six and scored four touchdowns offensively.

Senior defensive back Colin Miller finished with eight tackles on Friday night and was second on the team in 2021 with 73 total stops. Luke Adkins had six tackles to end the season at 69.

The win for Greenbrier East improved them to 8-2 on the season as they will advance to play No. 9 seed George Washington in the first round of the playoffs this season.

The Panthers will say goodbye to a large senior class as a total of 15 seniors played their final game on the gridiron for Lincoln County.

Score by Quarters

LCHS (4-6): 8 14 0 0 — 22

GEHS (8-2): 19 22 7 13 — 61

HD Media reporter Jarrid McCormick covers sports in Mingo County.

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