In recent seasons the Rams looked as if they played a little harder in the Backyard Brawl. Not so much on this Senior Night at Alton G. Brooks Stadium.
“We played as a team, a complete game,” Brill said. “Our guys really worked hard and there were a lot of tears since they knew it was my last home game. I think it meant a lot to them to go out and win.”
Lumberton’s resiliency showed early after the Pirates shook off two early fumbles to take a 7-0 lead. After Swett responded with a kickoff return by Isaac Jacobs and a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Juan Ellerbe, the Pirates regained momentum and never trailed again following the first of two first-half touchdowns by Ahmad Smith.
Smith and fellow senior back Daniel Robinson combined for 294 yards rushing on 34 carries. Robinson’s 39-yard touchdown scamper off-tackle midway through the fourth quarter ended Swett’s hopes at a comeback. Lumberton held the Rams to 234 yards, picked off three passes and scored on defense with less than three minutes left to capture its first win in the rivalry since 2008.
Senior linebacker Mac McGill, playing with a heavy heart for a brother who is hospitalized out of state, had one of the best individual performances of his two-time all-county career collecting 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four tackles-for-loss.
“We talked about playing through adversity and playing your best game,” Brill said. “I was real proud of how (Mac) did.”
Devils make quick work of Vikings
RED SPRINGS — Markeiss Blue and the rest of the Red Springs defense made sure there would be no letdown in Friday’s regular season finale at West Columbus.
The Red Devils kept the Vikings out of the end zone and limited the opposition to 72 total yards en route to a 48-6 win, a victory that clinched the program’s first conference championship since 2004. West Columbus’ lone touchdown came on Tony Reese’s 7-yard interception return in the first quarter.
Red Springs (8-3) has given up two offensive touchdowns in its last three games, both coming to South Robeson on Oct. 19. Over five games in the Three Rivers Conference, the Red Devils outscored the competition, 214-65.
“They’ve really played lights out (on defense) down the stretch,” Red Springs coach George Coltharp said. “Ron (Cook) has done a fantastic job with those guys. I think they were ragging on Blake (Greene) a little bit for throwing that interception return.”
Greene’s early interception was the only mistake the prolific-passing junior made all night. He added four touchdowns to his county-leading total and scattered the ball to several playmakers. Red Springs accumulated more than 600 yards of offense for the fourth time this season.
“We were forced to throw quick because they blitzed a lot of guys,” Coltharp said. “Zach (Leach) has a monster night. We had some success in the screen game.”
The Red Devils host a familiar opponent in this week’s first-round playoff game. As the No. 2 seed in the 1AA Mideast, Red Springs entertains Midway, a school that snapped a five-game losing streak Friday against Hobbton. The Red Devils beat the Raiders in the first round last season, 14-13.
St. Pauls’ jayvees win conference
ST. PAULS — With an unblemished 4-0 record in the Three Rivers Conference, Travis Lemanki’s St. Pauls junior varsity football team sealed a league championship last week after failing to win a single game in 10 tries last season.
Led by freshman running backs Montae Alford and Keith Pease, the Bulldogs (5-4) dominated the competition at the line of scrimmage and rushed for nearly 3,000 yards. Sophomore quarterback Jacob Lowder was solid under center as the Bulldogs’ “trigger-man” according to Lemanski.