One week down and the Robeson County football landscape has started to take form after some expected victories and losses, and some results that left many people scratching their heads.
To go under the category of the unexpected was Fairmont’s loss to a team that hadn’t won a game since 2015. The Golden Tornadoes outmatched athletically their opponents from Douglas Byrd, and had multiple opportunities to take advantage of the Eagles plagued with penalties on Friday, but their run defense never answered the call.
Dillon’s trouncing of Lumberton was expected by many, and the Purnell Swett game was a toss up, but St. Pauls’ road win came as a surprise to many as its defense led the way for a seven-point victory.
That about sums up all the surprises that happened this week, because the power rankings aren’t going to provide much with minimal changes this week.
The Red Devils handled business against South Brunswick and get to keep their spot at the top of the Robeson County football power rankings. Even without Lee McLean, the team’s leading rusher from a year ago, who will miss the season with an ACL tear suffered late in the preseason, Red Springs amassed over 380 yards on the ground as a team behind an offensive line that returns all five starters from a year ago.
Carrying the rushing load from here on out for the Red Devils is Jayshawn Carthen, who scored twice and rushed for over 150 yards. He and Red Springs eye down a 2-0 start this week taking on Vance County.
Taking on E.E. Smith, the Bulldogs showed no fear from what happened last year in the season opener to pull off what some saw as an upset. But to St. Pauls, there was not much to bat an eye at as its defense, which brings back a load of experience from last year, forced five turnovers against the Golden Bulls.
Mike Setzer also has a chance to repeat history with St. Pauls on Friday, as the interim coach can guide the Bulldogs to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2004, his first season with the program during his first stint.
In suffering a bad loss to a team that hadn’t won in its last 25 games, Fairmont bumped up one spot in the power rankings, thanks in large part to how the teams below it played. Douglas Byrd had one turnover and 11 penalties, but the Golden Tornadoes failed to convert, outside of a handful of big plays. An off week this week will be helpful for a team that needs a sense of direction right now.
After putting up a zero on the scoreboard against Dillon at home, the Pirates showed growth and fight against the Wildcats last week on the road. That resolve will be needed come conference play, and could build confidence in non-conference play. There is still a lot of work to be done by Lumberton to make sure it stays out of the bottom of the power rankings like it did for much of last season.
The Rams struggled to move the ball, and in turn couldn’t put points on the scoreboard. While that was going on, it’s defense allowed 35 unanswered points. Because of that, Purnell Swett dips down to the fifth-place spot, and has some work to do going forward with tough tests in the coming weeks to Hoggard, followed by the start of conference play against Richmond and Scotland.
No change for the Mustangs this week as they sat out the first week of the season. Now comes the tough task of playing 11 straight games without a break.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.