ST. PAULS — Behind a five-touchdown performance from quarterback Noah Wheeler, the St. Pauls football team earned a 45-8 victory over East Columbus on Friday night to secure its first win of the season.
Wheeler threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for three more scores, accounting for 226 yards to help the Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0 TRC) notch the win in their Three Rivers Conference opener.
Trailing 8-6 to the winless Gators after the opening quarter, St. Pauls used a 20-point second period to seize control and never looked back.
Caleb Inman led the rushing attack with 139 yards on 14 carries and a pair of touchdowns. He also hauled in four catches for 78 yards and a score. Jackson Waltay finished with 54 yards on three receptions and a touchdown.
Bryclyn McMillian paced the defense with three tackles for loss.
Fairmont holds of Knights to bounce back
BLADENBORO — Fairmont rebounded to open conference play with a 22-12 win on the road at West Bladen.
After the Knights (2-1, 0-1 TRC) cut the score to 14-12 in the third quarter, the Golden Tornadoes (2-1, 1-0 TRC) responded to start the fourth quarter when Malik Arnette scored on a nine-yard run to seal the game. He ran the ball 15 times for 71 yards and the lone score.
Derrick Arnette threw for 191 yards and a first-quarter touchdown to Jordan Waters from 38 yards out. Waters hauled in six catches for 100 yards.
On defense, Fairmont allowed three West Bladen running back to rush for over 75 yards each. Dayvon Swindell rushed for 100 yards, B.J. Drake rushed for 97 and Tyre Boykins had 76 yards.
South Columbus routs Red Springs to open title defense
TABOR CITY — Looking for its third conference title in a row, South Columbus opened Three Rivers play with a 42-14 win over Red Springs at home.
Red Springs (2-1, 0-1 TRC) scored its two touchdowns courtesy of running back Lee McLean.