Friday night, Lumberton’s shaky play rung the sentiment true.
From the Pirates’ first snap from scrimmage — one that was bobbled, fumbled and turned over — to when the clock ticked zeroes, Lumberton looked lost throughout its 25-7 fall to Swett.
And not just offensively, the Pirates’ Achilles’ heel all season. Even Lumberton’s vaunted defense seemed a step slow or out of position all night — uncharacteristic of a squad that had given up just 30 total points in its first two Southeastern Conference wins. In their last three league losses, the Pirates have given up an average of 29 a night.
The Rams on the other hand, were playing with renewed vigor on both sides of the ball. The offense carved up some 400 yards, kick-started by Chase Armstrong feathering a 42-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Tyrell McDonald, who slipped into his Megatron Halloween costume early with a cyborgish acrobatic grab.
The highlight reel kept rolling. Dillon Hunt broke loose up the middle for a 61-yard trot to the end zone minutes later, and — not to be outdone by the offense — the Rams’ defense joined the scoring-mix when Joe Swett recovered a Lumberton fumble and took it 11 yards to the pay dirt. Swett held the Pirates to just 139 yards and seven first downs on offense.
When the second-quarter dust settled, it was a 19-0 ball game. And judging by the body language on Swett’s sideline — arms raised, chests bumped — and Lumberton’s — hands-to-hips, shoulders sunk — one could say it was already “Ballgame”.
The Rams have taken down the Pirates in seven of their last eight meetings.
On the heels of kickoff, the “Big Mo” Stadium P.A. system sounded Michael Buffer’s all-too-familiar pregame plea: “Let’s get ready to rumble.”
Swett seemed to be the only ones to put the gloves on for Backyard Brawl III.
Sports editor Kaleb Roedel can be reached at (910) 272-6111 or email@example.com