He’s tired of being everyone’s homecoming opponent, and I would be too. It’s already happened a couple of times this season and it’ll be the same deal tonight when the Mustangs travel to St. Pauls to take on a Bulldogs team that just saw its five-game winning streak snapped last Friday.
As a program that has lost its last 14 games in the Three Rivers Conference game, South Robeson will continue to play spoiler until it shakes the moniker on the scoreboard. The Mustangs have however proved they’re no walk in the park under a new regime, losing four games this season by an average of 16.5 points per game. That number is down from a combined 26.8-point loss margin the last two seasons.
It’s important to note South Robeson’s improving, but Roberson’s not content with keeping games close.
“It’s about our guys believing in what we’re building and executing when the opportunity is there,” Roberson said earlier this week. “We had our chances this season, just haven’t taken advantage of them. There’s been winnable ballgames we haven’t won.”
The Mustangs get another shot at a signature victory tonight on the road.
Week 7 record: 2-2; Overall: 28-8
Two pivotal road games, two surprising losses. St. Pauls and Lumberton didn’t play particularly well away from home last week and returned to their digs 0-1 in conference play. Each program gets a chance to bounce back this week in games they should win, but it won’t be easy.
Hoke County (6-1) at Lumberton (4-2)
There’s one area in particular crucial to Lumberton’s success the rest of the season — turnovers. The Pirates could easily be 5-1 at this point, unbeaten even with a better performance offensively at Jack Britt early in the season. Instead, Lumberton’s offense has become a liability with mistakes beginning to accumulate. Giving the Bucks, headlined by All-SEC back Detrez Newsome, multiple cracks at the end zone would be fatal in this Southeastern Conference clash. Lumberton’s won three straight in the series with solid play defensively and needs a similar outing tonight.
Lumberton 20, Hoke County 14
Red Springs (4-3) at East Columbus (4-2)
Red Springs head coach George Coltharp told me prior to the season how talented he expected East Columbus’ football program to be this season. He was right. The Gators, like the Red Devils, used a challenging non-conference schedule to gear up for the games that count down the stretch and that showed during last week’s convincing win over West Columbus. East Columbus has the Three Rivers’ top defense, a stiff challenge for Red Springs’ balanced Air Raid attack. JuJu Brown, who missed last week’s game against St. Pauls, is a gametime decision for Red Springs after suffering a knee injury at Goldsboro.
Red Springs 30, East Columbus 24
South Robeson (2-4) at St. Pauls (5-2)
Last week for St. Pauls, it was offense against offense at Red Springs and the Bulldogs couldn’t deliver. Tonight, St. Pauls takes on a team with a defense-first mindset intent of limiting the Bulldogs’ number of possessions and shortening the game. Deshawn Hamilton returns to the South Robeson backfield after a short absence. He’s the team’s leading rusher as a freshman. St. Pauls counters with a veteran ball-carrier who has already surpassed the 1,200-yard barrier. After totaling just 17 carries last week, expect Shawn Williams to have his hands on the football a few more times in this one.
St. Pauls 42, South Robeson 26
West Columbus (3-4) at Fairmont (4-3)
The Golden Tornadoes return home on a two-game win streak for their homecoming bout with the Vikings, a team struck by recent tragedy. With a victory, Fairmont would be in a two-way for first place in the Three Rivers with the winner of Red Springs’ bout at East Columbus. Fairmont coach James Atkinson will be on the sideline tonight after he was disqualified last week in Rowland, not ejected like previously reported. At full strength, Fairmont’s a tough out with a long conference winning streak on the line.
Fairmont 32, West Columbus 14
Richmond (6-0) at Purnell Swett (2-4)
Purnell Swett gets another SEC heavyweight this week when it hosts unbeaten and second-ranked Richmond. At least after tonight, the Rams won’t face anymore ranked teams capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Swett’s leading rusher Andrew Hill won’t play due to injury, not a good omen for a struggling offense. In order to make the playoffs if Swett falls to the Raiders, the Rams would have to close the regular season on a three-game win streak.
Richmond 35, Swett 6