East Carteret (1-3) at St. Pauls (4-1)
Coaches: EC — Mike Sartain; STP — Trey Sasser.
Recent history: St. Pauls pounded East Carteret's front seven in last year’s contest, beating the Mariners, 34-6.
What to watch: The Mariners stand in the way of a 5-1 start for St. Pauls which would be the Bulldogs’ best non-conference finish since 2000 under then-coach Tasker Fleming. Defense is this week’s sticking point for St. Pauls as the confident program heads into Three Rivers play next week at Red Springs. Attention to detail and tackling are two things the Bulldogs are working in preparation for a stretch run this season. After five games, no team has held St. Pauls’ offense under 40 points. On average, East Carteret gives up four touchdowns on defense each Friday night.
Keep an eye on: St. Pauls senior running back Shawn Williams needs just 19 yards to become become Robeson County’s first 1,000-yard rusher this season. Earlier this week, Williams was named 2A player of the week by NCPreps.com for his herculean-effort against Harrells Christian.
Fairmont (2-3) at Jones Senior (0-4)
Coaches: FMT — James Atkinson; JS — John Davis.
Recent history: Fairmont dominated last year’s meeting, 27-8, at home.
What to watch: Due to heavy graduation losses at the skill positions, Jones Senior has had extensive problems on offense this season, scoring a single touchdown in each game. Coming off a 9-5 campaign during which the Trojans reached the state championship game, the defending east regional 1A champs would like nothing more than to capture their first victory of the season against a Golden Tornadoes team down five starters who are serving suspensions for fighting. The lost of four playmakers up front was evident last week as Fairmont gave up 450 yards rushing to Wilmington Ashley.
Keep an eye on: Fairmont junior wideout Shemar Barfield who seems to be coming into his own as a second-year starter on the outside. Barfield only played three quarters last week but had a kickoff return for a touchdown and 148 all-purpose yards.
Red Springs (3-2) at Goldsboro (3-1)
Coaches: RS — George Coltharp; GB — Eric Reid.
Recent history: Red Springs captured a 16-14 victory last season at home.
What to watch: It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Red Springs can shake off last week’s drubbing at Sun Valley. Coming out of this final non-conference tuneup injury-free is the ultimate goal according to head coach George Coltharp, but is still a contest Red Springs would like to finish on a high note. Quarterback Blake Greene continued his noteworthy play with three touchdown passes last week, spreading it around to several different receivers. Goldsboro will be a contender this season in the 1A Carolina Conference with a balanced offense and great overall team speed. This could be an early glimpse at a possible playoff matchup.
Keep an eye on: Jedarian Lesane, Red Springs’ junior tailback with a knack for picking up yards from the zone read. Lesane’s season-high was a 188-yard performance in the opener against West Bladen, but the coaching staff says he has a few more 100-yard games in him this year.