LUMBERTON — Robeson County’s high school football teams had another tough week on the gridiron, with one team walking away victorious and three others losing by seven points or less.
South Robeson earned a 44-6 victory over East Columbus to lock up a 1-A postseason bid, with Fairmont, Lumberton and St. Pauls coming up short in close games. Red Springs lost by 16 points at Whiteville and Purnell Swett lost 32-6 at home to Jack Britt.
Despite a 1-5 record for county teams, several players shined in the critical moments and the Mustangs reigned supreme as the team of the week.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
South Robeson: The Mustangs are primed to earn their sixth consecutive NCHSAA 1-A playoff appearance after a dominate 44-6 win over East Columbus.
South Robeson was slow out of the gate against the winless Gators, but a stingy defense and Mustangs running back Darrius “Doodle” Brown provided a spark for the squad, which closed the game with 44 unanswered points.
The Mustangs have made the playoffs in each of Clay Jernigan’s three years with the program and boast the longest active streak among county teams with five consecutive playoff appearances.
EYE POPPING PERFORMANCES
Darrius “Doodle” Brown, RB, South Robeson: One of three impressive tailbacks on South Robeson’s squad, it was Brown’s night to shine against the Gators — on and off the field. Leading the way with 134 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, scoring on runs of 22 and 19 yards, Brown was also crowned as South Robeson’s homecoming king. It was quite the night for the senior.
Braylan Grice, QB, Lumberton: The Pirates quarterback has done everything in his power to carry a struggling Lumberton team this season, continuing his string of impressive performances with a quartet of touchdowns on Friday in a 34-27 loss at Pinecrest. Grice finished with 429 yards of total offense, rushing for 142 yards and four touchdowns. He finished with 287 passing yards. Trailing 34-13 early in the fourth quarter, Grice scored the game’s final 14 points to give the Pirates a chance at an unlikely victory.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Noah Wheeler, QB, St. Pauls: Accounted for 270 yards of offense, throwing for 157 and rushing for 113 with three touchdowns against East Bladen.
Breighlan Swindell, LB, Lumberton: Finished with 19 tackles against Pinecrest.
Denym McKeithan, QB, Red Springs: Threw for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Whiteville.
Jerome Bass, LB, Red Springs: Finished with 18 tackles against Whiteville.
Derrick Arnette, QB, Fairmont: Accounted for 386 yards, including 322 through the air, and four touchdowns against South Columbus.
Jordan Waters, WR, Fairmont: Hauled in eight catches for 123 yards and a touchdown against South Columbus.
Jayvon Morris, WR, Fairmont: Logged three catches for 109 yards and a touchdown against South Columbus.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.