LUMBERTON — While both Lumberton and Westover are hungry to get their first win of the season tomorrow, there’s no worry from the Pirates about how bad the Wolverines want a win.
The focus has been on how bad Lumberton wants it.
“We watch them on film and show them how dangerous they are, but it’s really been about Lumberton this week,” Lumberton coach Mike Setzer said. “It’s been focused on what we need to do, what’s our feelings and how bad we want to get a win.”
Lumberton’s (0-1) coming off a 42-0 loss to Dillon and Westover (0-1) was shut out 21-0 by Seventy-First. So, not only is the first win on the minds of both teams, but also trying to put the first points on the scoreboard this year as well.
Held to under 50 yards of total offense against the Wildcats, the Lumberton offense has worked to improve not the execution, but its attitude. Setzer sited how his team reacted to the frustration that Dillon levied out and how he wants the offense to continue to fight through the struggles.
“I feel like we took some plays off and at some point in time it became a ‘woe is me’ mentality, other than continuing to compete,” Setzer said.
On the opposite side, Setzer sees a very dangerous team in Westover and the zero points it had in the opener as very deceptive considering it was taking on the likes of Seventy-First. Dmarion Ford will see most of the time at running back, but the Wolverines showed explosiveness with backs coming off the bench. Te’andre Walton averaged 17.3 yards per carry against the Falcons on his three carries.
“They’re a very fast and deceptive team. They have a the ability to make big plays,” he said. “We’ve emphasized more on being aggressive, delivering the blow more and just playing assignment football. I see a bunch of guys that have the ability to make plays with the ball in their hand.”
The big play are what the Pirates are aiming to eliminate after several large plays came back to hurt them. Those moments of breakdown that resulted in big plays is what Setzer feels takes away from a defense that had its positive moments against Dillon.
“We felt like there were times that the defense looked good and there were times where we let some things go,” Setzer said. “We’ve got to cut down on the big play.”
Union Pines at St. Pauls
St. Pauls plays its second straight home game to open the season in hopes that this week will go better than last. The Bulldogs struggled to stop the E.E. Smith rushing attack in the second half in a 43-18 loss. The Vikings also are looking to rebound after a 35-21 loss to East Montgomery.
Marqueise Coleman will look to back up his season-opening performance of 203 yards on the ground, while quarterback Noah Wheeler is in search of a rebound performance that included three interceptions against the Golden Bulls. Union Pines’ offense will throw a balanced attack at the St. Pauls defense after totaling 418 yards of total offense in its first game.
Purnell Swett at Ashley
The output that Purnell Swett got in its win over Pine Forest will be needed once again on the road at Ashley, with both teams looking to move to 2-0 on the season.
The experienced offense of the Rams had no trouble moving the ball with the play of Luke Oxendine distributing the ball to multiple receivers like Chandler Brayboy and Cyran Dial. Al’Drique Thompson topped the 100-yard plateau and had a rushing score for an offense that was hitting on all cylinders. The offense will have to protect the ball against an Ashley defense that forced four turnovers last week.
The Rams’ defense forced three turnovers and had a defensive score late and will have to slow down Logan Black at quarterback, who was an effective 9-for-12 passing and also added a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Red Springs at Southern Vance
A road trip will test the mettle of the young Red Springs offense going up against Southern Vance, who comes into the contest looking to build a winning streak for the first time since the 2013 season.
Monte’ Wilkerson has shown his athleticism and versatility to play both receiver and cornerback and excel at both. He grabbed two touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Denym McKeithan and had an interception on defense. The ball-hawking defense had three interceptions in the first game and will look to replicate that output on the road.
Union at South Robeson
Opening the season at home, South Robeson takes on Union, fresh off its loss to Midway in the first week of the year in a contest where mistakes and missed opportunities proved costly against the Spartans. Both teams will look to build its offenses from running the ball with their small rosters.
The Mustangs enter the season with sophomore quarterback Tyler Locklear taking the reins of the new and more vertical-attacking offense with talented backs like Jamera McLeod and Darrius Brown getting handoffs. The defense will be anchored behind the play of middle linebacker Jaylen Mitchell.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.