LUMBERTON — While the Lumberton, St. Pauls and South Robeson football teams got their first win of the young season last Friday, they weren’t the only ones.
For the first three weeks of the season, I had yet to cover a Robeson County Football team win after seeing St. Pauls lose in week one, Lumberton fall in their second and third games of the season and Fairmont losing to Ashley. I was beginning to think that I was a bad luck charm. But thanks to the Pirates win over West Brunswick last week, I joined the three teams mentioned previously in getting their first wins.
Now that everyone has a win under their belts, it is really go time. It might have took four weeks to see a win, but heading into week five my picks record is 17-2.
St. Pauls (1-2) at South Robeson (1-2)
A Robeson County team will win this one and that team will get their second win in a row. This series has been lopsided as of late with St. Pauls winning 12 of the last 13 games against South Robeson since 2004, but both teams have confidence and both sides envy what the other team has. St. Pauls has the size in numbers that will benefit it late in the game with more conditioned athletes, and South Robeson has size up front that the Bulldogs lack.
What both teams have are athletes and seeing the running backs from both teams converge will be great to see for the first half. Fatigue will hit the Mustangs hard with a small roster of players playing on both sides and the vertical passing attack of the Bulldogs has confidence after its last two games to keep the wheels rolling.
Prediction: St. Pauls 41, South Robeson 14
Purnell Swett (3-0) at Hoggard (3-0)
The last unbeaten team in Robeson County, hits the road for its second trip to Wilmington in four weeks against the seventh-ranked 4A team in the state, according to the Associated Press poll. That’s one way to get yourself prepared for Sandhills Athletic Conference play after taking on three teams with a combined 3-8 record so far before the bye week.
Coming off their bye week, the Rams have to put an emphasis on starting strong out of the gate. Slow starts like it had against Ashley and Douglas Byrd will not be as easy to get past against the 4A titans that Purnell Swett is set to take on in the coming weeks. While the trip to Ashley was fun in the sun for the Rams, this trip to the Port City won’t be so kind this time around.
Prediction: Hoggard 42, Purnell Swett 21
West Bladen (2-1) at Red Springs (2-1)
After suffering their first losses last week to open conference play, the Knight and Red Devils both are trying to avoid 0-2 starts to Three Rivers Conference play. Two first-year coaches are being tasked with helping their teams rebound from losses in this meeting of what is expect to be two of the conference’s middle of the pack teams.
Fans of running the football will like this matchup with Red Springs’ Lee McLean and his counterpart B.J. Drake racking up the yards on the ground so far this season. Red Springs’ experienced defense has licked its wounds for a week following the loss to South Columbus and won’t have that happen two weeks in a row.
Prediction: Red Springs 26, West Bladen 12
West Columbus (0-3) at Fairmont (2-1)
No beating around the bush here. This game could get ugly.
Fairmont got back on its feet last week and West Columbus continued to stumble with a lopsided loss to South Robeson. With the athletes that Fairmont has and another week of preparation for the players coming back from injury and those that joined late, the Vikings will struggle to stop the Golden Tornado offense. This game is the last tuneup for Fairmont before a hard stretch of games, and if it doesn’t overlook its opponents, the offense should run as well and as quick as the clock in the second half.
Prediction: Fairmont 51, West Columbus 6
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.