RED SPRINGS — After four straight weeks, Lawrence Ches said that Red Springs has seen enough Wing-T teams that they are experienced in going up against that style of offense.
In fact, the first-year coach for the Red Devils thinks that if his offense had to go out on Friday and run the Wing-T that it would be able to operate well.
“I think this is like the fifth Wing-T team we’ve faced in a row so we should be prepared. We practice it a lot and our scout team probably runs the Wing-T better than they run our offense right now,” Ches said. “We’re definitely going to put a lot of time on their offense and stopping that, and we should be prepared.”
Red Springs (4-2, 2-2 TRC) takes on its fifth straight Wing-T team as South Robeson (2-4, 2-2 TRC) takes the 23-mile drive across the county for a homecoming matchup.
“It’s a big game for both teams. It would be nice to be 3-2 in conference and I know Red Springs is in the same boat,” South Robeson coach Clay Jernigan said.
Any fan of teams that like to run the ball will enjoy this matchup with the county’s leading rusher taking on South Robeson backfield that has fueled the offense in recent weeks. This is also the only home game in Robeson County this week.
Red Springs’ Lee McLean has rushed for 827 yards and nine touchdowns to lead Red Springs and is second in the conference in rushing behind West Bladen’s B.J. Drake. McLean was held in check by East Bladen where he was held to 35 yards rushing and no touchdowns, and was the only game this season where he didn’t find the end zone, and has reached the 100-yard plateau in the rest of the games this year.
“That running back they got is pretty good. He is one of the top tailbacks and he knows how to run it,” Jernigan said.
“He’s mature beyond his age and is showing a lot of leadership,” Ches said. “I couldn’t heap enough praise on the young man.”
The Red Springs defense matches up with the backfield of the Mustangs led by senior running back Darius Wright. The senior back has rushed for over 500 yards in the last four weeks and is right behind McLean in rushing yards this season.
“He’s really stepped up. He’s a senior. He’s not really vocal, but he’s leading by his actions and he works pretty good in the weight room and that has carried over to the field,” Jernigan said of Wright.
Alongside Wright is Jamearos McLeod, who like McLean has scored in every game this season, and Darrius Brown. The three are capable backs that in the last four weeks that has led the Mustangs to scoring 30.5 points per game during that span.
Last week against West Bladen, South Robeson quickly opened in a 14-point hole, and Jernigan said that won’t suffice this week against the Red Devils.
“My biggest concern is us, not them and what they bring, but how we will respond after what we did this past week,” he said. “After we gave them 14 points, we started to move the ball and I’m hoping we can keep that rolling. I just hope we can play four quarters because we spotted West Bladen 14 points quick and we can’t do that against them because they got a good football team and that will be hard to come back from.”
Red Springs this week is making sure it keeps its focus razor-sharp and not caught up in the extra noise that comes from a homecoming game.
“We have to have a disciplined practice, we have to have a great week this week and ignore the hoopla of a homecoming,” Ches said. “We have to remember that homecoming week is about the football team and the homecoming game. If we can keep our focus we should be in good shape.”
St. Pauls at West Columbus
The Bulldogs look to rebound after a bad loss to South Columbus taking on a struggling West Columbus squad this week. The Vikings (0-6, 0-4 TRC) have posted four touchdowns all season, led by two from junior running back Nigel Ceesay.
After faltering right from the start against the Stallions in the matchup of two teams leading the Three Rivers Conference last week, St. Pauls (3-3, 3-1 TRC) is in search of getting its offense and defense back on track after taking a step back last week. The offense had 157 yards of total offense and four turnovers on the night, while the defense surrendered 339 yards on the ground.
Fairmont at East Bladen
The tough stretch that Fairmont is on only gets tougher as senior running back Xavier Wooten and East Bladen aim to continue their roll against the Golden Tornadoes. East Bladen (5-1, 3-1 TRC) played tight with Whiteville and South Columbus early in conference play, and now take their run-based offense opposite a Fairmont (3-3, 2-2 TRC).
East Bladen’s defense has been tops in the conference, allowing under a touchdown a game to its opponents. Moving the ball against the Eagles is already a tough task and in the last few weeks, Fairmont has struggled to do that against St. Pauls and Whiteville.
Purnell Swett at Pinecrest
The end of the tough four-game stretch comes this week for the Rams that look to beat Pinecrest for the first time since 2010. Purnell Swett (3-3, 0-2 SAC) and Pinecrest (3-3, 0-2 SAC) were the last undefeated teams left in the Sandhills Athletic Conference in non-conference play and now find themselves at the bottom of the pile after two weeks.
Senior quarterback Luke Oxendine is second in the SAC for total touchdowns with 15, after a three touchdown performance last week against Scotland.
Lumberton at Seventy-First
While Purnell Swett’s tough stretch in the Sandhills Athletic Conference is coming to an end, Lumberton’s is just starting. The Pirates (2-4, 0-2 SAC) travel to Seventy-First (5-1, 2-0 SAC), who is tied for the conference lead.
Last year this game was a blowout win where Seventy-First ran over Lumberton with 665 yards on the ground. This year, leading the Falcons on the ground is senior running backs Fabion Jones and Juan Maddox, both with over 500 yards rushing apiece. The Falcons’ defense has also allowed 8 points per game on average to its opponents this season.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.