LUMBERTON — I’m not exactly sure who is more excited for week one of high school football to kick off, the teams that have been working hard through summer workouts and practices, or the newspaper’s sports staff and myself who spent this summer writing about the teams prepping for the season.
Nonetheless, the time is finally here for five of the six Robeson County teams to start their pursuit of conference and state championships along with every other high school in North Carolina. With the teams returning, the weekly picks for the county schools is back as well.
Douglas Byrd at Fairmont
A winless team taking on a team that felt snubbed from the playoffs last season in this matchup. Needless to say both of these teams are coming in mad looking for something to prove. Fairmont enters this season with its third new quarterback in three years, but the previous two passers have had no trouble tossing the pigskin and leading the county in the passing yards category.
The rust and first-game jitters usually make the season opener an awkward start for most teams. Fairmont should have no trouble breaking through in this one, but the defense has to be able to stop the run as the Eagles bring back most of its ballcarrier from a year ago.
Fairmont 28, Douglas Byrd 21
Lumberton at Dillon
The story lines are all there in this matchup for Lumberton head coach Kelly Williamson’s return to Lumberton in his first season and his return to Dillon where he was an assistant taking on his cousin who is a coaching legend for the Wildcats. Lumberton was muzzled last year by Dillon at home with a goose egg on the scoreboard and not much more than that in yards of total offense.
This contest is not the best way to welcome in a new coach and his staff taking on the defending state champions, but the Pirates can use it to prepare themselves for the rest of the season taking on similar caliber opponents in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. At the end of the day, Lumberton will be undefeated against in-state opponents after week one.
Dillon 49, Lumberton 6
Purnell Swett at Pine Forest
The last time Purnell Swett traveled to Pine Forest, the Rams dropped a close 11-6 ballgame after surrendering 11 points in the fourth quarter. This team for the Rams draws similarities to the team two years ago with a lot of newcomers stepping into starting roles, and this game is their first real taste of Friday night lights. However, this team has several more pieces of experience that can carry the load and help prepare the inexperienced players.
Purnell Swett 24, Pine Forest 16
Red Springs at South Brunswick
No Heisman, no problem for Red Springs as it travels to Southport to open the season. While its leader on both sides of the ball from last year is gone, the athletes needed to keep the momentum going are ready to prove its their time to shine. The Cougars favored the run last year, and the Red Devils will take that gameplan head on with its strength in the front seven. The Red
Springs backfield also will be ready to have another solid outing against South Brunswick, just like last year.
Red Springs 29, South Brunswick 7
St. Pauls at E.E. Smith
A senior-heavy E.E. Smith team handed St. Pauls a lopsided home loss last season. While both teams have some replacing and reloading to do around the field in certain positions, St. Pauls has a little bit more experience on its side. The Bulldogs on the road with a new coaching staff isn’t the ideal setup for a victory, but this one should be closer than last year’s defeat.
E.E. Smith 30, St. Pauls 21
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.