LUMBERTON — Every year during football season, there are instant classic games that stick in people’s minds for the rest of the season, or the rest of their lives.
It’s impossible to pick out which ones will be those games this season without a crystal ball or a time machine, but here’s a list of five that have a strong possibility of being worth the price of admission, and many of these games feature in-county rivalries.
Fairmont at Red Springs, Oct. 19
Red Springs snapped a three-game losing streak in the series to the Golden Tornadoes in an 18-12 overtime victory at Fairmont in 2017. In the last three contests between the rivals, the deciding margin has been a touchdown or less.
The last two meetings have provided the best games of the year. Fairmont won 38-32 over Red Springs in 2016 on a Julius Caulder touchdown pass to Jordan Waters on the final play of the game, and last year a running back pass trick play in overtime from Nichorie West to Jayshawn Carthen was the difference for the Red Devils.
St. Pauls at Red Springs, Nov. 2
This game set up as the battle for third place in the Three Rivers Conference last season, and the Red Devils came out on top to spoil the Bulldogs’ senior night. This year, St. Pauls has a chance to return the favor in the final week of the season. Both teams seem to be in the same situation this year again with their meeting late in the year carrying bragging rights and positioning in the conference.
Lumberton at Purnell Swett, Nov. 2
The Backyard Brawl in recent years has been more about bragging rights than conference position, but three of the last five meetings of these teams have been decided by 10 points or less. Last year, the Rams were victorious against their cross-county rivals for the first time in six tries with a 20-17 win.
Westover at Lumberton, Aug. 24
Former St. Pauls coach Ernest King makes his return to Robeson County and Lumberton, where he served as an assistant, in his first season as head coach of the Wolverines. This game was one of several close calls for the Pirates last season, when Westover drove the field in the final three-plus minutes of the game. The game-winning touchdown scored with 12 seconds left to hand the Pirates a 20-15 road loss.
South Columbus at Red Springs, Sept. 7
No better way to bring in Three Rivers Conference play for Red Springs than welcoming the team that has won a share of the last three conference titles. While the Red Devils have yet to beat the Stallions since they joined the conference, catching a young team early in the year could be what it needs to reverse its luck. Last year in Tabor City, South Columbus won 42-14.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.