Week 11 prep football previews
by By Brad Crawford
Here’s a look from staff writer Brad Crawford at Friday’s Week 11 high school football games involving teams from Robeson County:
Fairmont (7-2, 3-2) at South Columbus (6-3, 4-1)
Coaches: SC — Jake Fonvielle; FMT — Randy Ragland
Recent history: The Golden Tornadoes are 0-7 all-time against the Stallions.
What to watch: Two conference front-runners early in the season, the Golden Tornadoes and Stallions are each coming off losses last week to teams making their move in the standings. Thanks to a season-high six turnovers, South Columbus fell victim to Malik Livingston and St. Pauls while Fairmont struggled at the line scrimmage against Whiteville and gave up 501 yards rushing. The Golden Tornadoes may have played themselves out of a first-round playoff game with two losses in conference play and need to win out to strengthen a seed. South Columbus is very much alive in the Three Rivers race, one game back of Whiteville and could win it with help.
Keep an eye on: Fairmont wideout Da’Shawn Fields recorded two touchdown receptions in last week’s loss and showed flashes of his big-play capability showcased the first half of the season. St. Pauls proved the Stallions can be beaten through the air and that’s Fairmont’s speciality.
West Columbus (2-7, 0-5) at Red Springs (1-8, 1-4)
Coaches: RS — George Coltharp; WC —Mark Little
Recent history: Red Springs has won four straight over the Vikings since falling, 20-3, during the 2008 season.
What to watch: It took nearly nine full games of football, but the Red Devil defense finally came through this season with a late goal line stand in last week’s win over East Columbus. In relief of quarterback Blake Greene, wideout-turned-signal caller Jameson Baker threw two touchdown passes to help Red Springs reach 40 points, its highest total of the season. Greene accounted for three touchdowns on offense and fumble recovery in the end zone on defense through the first three quarters, upping his career county-record total to 140. The Red Devils are playing for pride here on out and have come to grips with missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
Keep an eye on: After a four-game streak without a touchdown, Red Springs wide receiver CJ McGeachy found the end zone three times against the Gators and maintained his receptions lead over the rest of Robeson County. McGeachy has hauled in 66 passes this season, 17 more than his next closest competitor — Swett’s Tyler Maynor.
Whiteville (8-1, 5-0) at South Robeson (6-3, 3-2)
Coaches: WHS — Luke Little; SR — Stephen Roberson
Recent history: Whiteville won, 32-12, the last time these two programs met in 2006. Whiteville holds a 10-3 lead in the all-time series.
What to watch: Hats off to Wolfpack coach Luke Little. With a handful of sophomore starters on defense, Little’s turned the tides on the program in Year 2 and already has four more wins than last season. The Wolfpack can clinch at least a share of the Three Rivers Conference championship with a victory and if they win the next two, capture the title outright. South Robeson counters with two tailbacks on the verge of 1,000-yard campaigns and a senior quarterback who is finally coming out of his shell. Kalvis Chavis helped the Mustangs snap a two-game losing streak to top West Columbus last week with three touchdown passes, matching a career high set earlier this season. South Robeson should get a high seed in the 1A state playoffs with a first-round home game if it can win its final two games.
Keep an eye on: Whiteville quarterback Dylan Williams whose right arm beat St. Pauls earlier this season late in the fourth quarter and was perfect last week against Fairmont. Whiteville has a run-first offense, but Williams has been an accurate option throughout 2013.
St. Pauls (7-2, 4-1) at East Columbus (2-7, 0-5)
Coaches: STP — Trey Sasser; EC — Chris Haney
Recent history: The Gators pummelled the Bulldogs last season, 60-18.
What to watch: St. Pauls has been Robeson County’s most consistent football team this season, twice taking down perceived favorites on the road with spirited fourth quarters. The Bulldogs know how to finish and with help, could grab the conference’s top 2A playoff seed along with a share of the league title. St. Pauls won nine games last season under Trey Sasser and surpassing that total is well within reach. His team has met expectations despite losing three all-county players on offense and with a deep playoff run, has a chance at exceeding them.
Keep an eye on: Tim Billinger, a St. Pauls wide receiver who can stretch the field with good hands and great reach.
Hoke County (2-7, 1-2) at Purnell Swett (2-7, 0-3)
Coaches: HC — Milton Butts; PS — Mark Heil
Recent history: The Bucks and Rams have split their last four meetings since 2009.
What to watch: The future’s bright for Swett next season as junior Thristian Lowry seems to have solidified the team’s quarterback position over the last month. Lowry became the first Rams passer since Chase Armstrong to throw for 300 yards last week in Southern Pines. Lowry’s responsible for 16 touchdowns this season, better than what Mark Heil expected at of that position in August. Swett’s defense will be tested against the run this week and don’t be fooled by Hoke’s 2-7 record. The Bucks narrowly missed an upset win over Richmond two weeks ago and held an early 10-point lead over top-ranked Scotland last Friday night. It’s been nearly two full seasons since Swett has beaten a 4A program and Big ‘Mo’ Strickland Stadium in Pembroke is beginning to lose its ‘tough to place to play’ moniker.
Keep an eye on: Chuck Oxendine, Swett’s all-conference linebacker, has two more shots at a home victory this season along with the rest of the Rams’ senior class. He’ll need a big outing in the middle against Hoke’s stable of ballcarriers.
Scotland (9-0, 3-0) at Lumberton (0-9, 0-3)
Coaches: SC — Richard Bailey; LHS — Ron Cook
Recent history: Lumberton’s last win in the league rivalry series came in 2010.
What to watch: The Pirates hope to catch unbeaten and top-ranked Scotland sleeping this week prior to the Scots’ Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Richmond in the regular season finale. Each of Lumberton’s conference games this season have been decided by at least 17 points and the Scots can score points in a hurry. Demetri Sheridan’s a great player on a struggling team and hasn’t received enough credit this season for the triple-digit tackle season he’s having as a senior. He’ll get plenty of opportunities to make stops in the first half this week.
Keep an eye on: Jaylend Ratliffe, Scotland’s star quarterback and reigning SEC Player of the Year is having another standout year despite last week’s near hiccup against Hoke County. The Scots like tempo and Ratliffe’s the ideal faciliator in Richard Bailey’s game plan, accounting for 28 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards of total offense this season.
Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.
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