RED SPRINGS — Red Springs returns home after a convincing road win against South Brunswick to open the season. Coach Lawrence Ches is in search of a 2-0 start when his group hosts Vance County Friday.
“The message to my kids is all about integrity and character,” Ches said as he detailed his team’s preparation for their next opponent. “And we have to be super-physical this week, that’s the plan.”
Vance County is in its first year and still looking for its first win, but Ches says they pose a challenge because the team consists of players from both Northern and Southern Vance.
The Vipers dropped their season opener 41-21 on the road at Franklinton.
The Red Devils (1-0) scored 38 points in their win last week, led by senior Jayshawn Carthen who bullied his way to 157 yards and two touchdowns. Carthen answered the call in the wake of the team losing its leading rusher from last season, Lee McLean, due to an ACL injury. Despite his small stature, Carthen’s oversized heart and tenacity have gotten the coach’s attention.
“[Carthen] is about 150 pounds soaking wet and you would never know that hearing him talk, you’d think he’s 6-foot-5, 250,” Ches said.
The coaching staff has full confidence in their new lead back, but Ches and the crew know others will have to contribute if they want to remain undefeated. Quarterback Denym McKeithan kept the offense balanced with three passing touchdowns, one of which went for 78 yards, in the win over South Brunswick.
Ches hopes to couple the efforts of Carthen and McKeithan on the offensive side with a “scrappy” defensive unit that’s already collected five sacks and two takeaways.
“Everything for us is creating a culture of leadership and selflessness,” Ches said. “If everybody paddles their paddle, the boat stays on path.”
St. Pauls at Union Pines
The Bulldogs (1-0) are on the road again this week after starting the season with a nail-biting 28-21 victory at E.E. Smith last Friday.
The team travels to Union Pines (1-0), who comes off a 42-21 win in Week 1 over East Montgomery. Junior running back Marqueise Coleman tallied 109 yards on the ground against the Golden Bulls and is in search of back-to-back games over the century mark.
Meanwhile, the opportunistic defense looks to continue its success after scoring two touchdowns off three fumble recoveries last week. That defensive unit will look to slow down junior Tyreek McCoy, who had four touchdowns on 276 yards last week.
The Vikings won the meeting 48-39 last year in St. Pauls.
South Robeson at Union
South Robeson will be in action for the first time this season after taking its bye week.
The Mustangs travel to Union (0-1), on Friday night where they’ll look to avenge a 32-6 loss in last year’s season opener.
South Robeson also will try to reverse its misfortunes on the road (1-5) from a year ago, but will have to do so without their leading returning rusher Jamearos McLeod this week.
Ashley at Purnell Swett
The Rams (0-1) are looking to bounce back after losing at Pine Forest last week.
The team will try not to surrender an early lead again when they take on Ashley (1-0) at home. Ashley has already proven themselves on the road this season, winning their opener at Southern Wayne.
Chandler Brayboy looks to lead the way for the Rams, coming off a quiet offensive game for him that included a 26-yard touchdown run.
Red Springs’ Jayshawn Carthen carries the ball against Salisbury last year. The senior has taken over as the main rusher for the Red Devils this season with Lee McLean sidelined with a torn ACL. He had over 150 yards rushing in the team’s opener.
Donnell Coley can be reached at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Sportsinmyveins.