LUMBERTON — Mother Nature should be No. 1 on this week’s power rankings after causing the local high school football games to be moved forward to Thursday, then some back to Friday before last week’s four games ultimately moved to Monday.
It was a debacle, but times marches on to this week leaving three of the five teams playing on Friday with short weeks.
Two undefeated teams remain in Robeson County, with Purnell Swett being the only to play this past week with another convincing win. Lumberton and Fairmont showed promise in their losses, and South Robeson enters conference play this week looking for its first win.
If this week’s power rankings look familiar, just look back to last week’s. Not much changed in the rankings, but we learned a little more about the teams.
1. Purnell Swett
Another win by a sizable margin over Douglas Byrd has the Rams at the top of the rankings once again.
For the second week in a row, Purnell Swett was sluggish to start and found itself in an early hole. Bad starts that are followed by comebacks won’t be as easy in two weeks when Purnell Swett enters “the gauntlet” taking on Hoggard, Richmond, Scotland and Pinecrest in consecutive weeks.
Getting more play like it has later in games by its defense and translating it for a whole 48 minutes will be what’s needed. The Rams’ defense will have bigger tests from here on out.
2. Red Springs
The Red Devils were idle last week, so we’ll keep them right where they were last week, since they are still undefeated, after all.
Staying at third for the third week in a row, the Golden Tornadoes were a few mistakes away from rising up in the rankings this week.
Four second-half turnovers were costly in the loss to Ashley. Despite a solid offensive output from Derrick Arnette, that included being more versatile in the run game in the second half, the mistakes were too much to overcome. Luckily the level of play won’t be up to that of Ashley for most of the conference games for Fairmont, but ball security will be important.
Fatigue hit hard in the loss to Ashley with a depleted roster, the heat from a game in the middle of the day and players playing on both sides. Coach Kevin Inman said that the cavalry is coming, however, to provide depth with new players joining and players returning from injury.
Another close game and another close loss for the Pirates to South View, but promising signs came from this defeat.
Lumberton’s run defense, despite missing a few starters, held South View’s running game to under its season average from the first two games, and kept its backs out of the end zone. That run defense is kind of important with the tailbacks that are set to go against Lumberton in the coming weeks in conference play.
Special teams was an issue on Monday, and has been an issue for the Pirates this season. Cleaning up the kicking game going forward against the the athletes in the Sandhills Athletic Conference will make sure that games are not lost in that aspect.
5. St. Pauls
The Bulldogs were idle and stay in at five, but with two winnable conference games ahead of them look for a rise in the rankings to follow.
6. South Robeson
Taking on the defending 1A state champs in South Carolina this past week, the Mustangs hung tight early before the Wild Gators pulled away. For a young team like South Robeson has, that’s a step in the right direction.
After the two non-conference games to start the season, the Mustangs are ready to see conference play as it opens up against West Columbus, one of the two Three Rivers teams it beat last season.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.