LUMBERTON — While Red Springs extended its season with a 17-9 win at Salisbury in the opening round of the NCHSAA state football playoffs on Friday, Purnell Swett and St. Pauls saw their seasons come to an end in a pair of road tilts.
The 11th-seeded Rams (5-7) lost 34-13 at No. 6 Heritage (11-1), scoring on a fumble return and a touchdown pass by Luke Oxendine. Heritage, which led 21-6 at the half, will face Cardinal Gibbons next week in the second round.
No. 16 St. Pauls (5-7), one of the last teams to make the 2A state playoffs field, dropped a 54-14 game at top-seeded East Duplin (12-0). The Bulldogs trailed 41-7 at the break. St. Pauls quarterback Noah Wheeler threw a touchdown pass in the first half to trim the lead to 20-7, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
St. Pauls running back Caleb Inman scored on a 10-yard run for the final tally. East Duplin will face West Stokes next week.
In other Three Rivers Conference action, South Columbus claimed a 14-0 win over Wheatmore. Whiteville blasted North Wilkes 45-13 in its opening game and East Bladen won a 39-33 thriller over James Kenan.
In games featuring teams from the Sandhills Athletic Conference, Richmond fell 27-23 against North Mecklenburg. Millbrook claimed a 27-14 victory over Jack Britt, Pinecrest ran away from Athens Drive with a decisive 50-19 victory and Seventy-First earned a 23-13 win over Durham Jordan to earn a date with top-seeded Scotland next week.