LUMBERTON — As school started back this week, players have been getting used to a new schedule that they will stick with from now until the end of the season that adds some consistency to their lives.
Consistency is a preaching point many coaches like to use, and is what many teams in Robeson County are searching for right now. The four teams playing this week, with three competing on the road, have a combined one win. There have been several close calls, but these teams are playing football, not horseshoes. This week could be the week for a few teams to figure out the consistency formula with conference play starting in the coming weeks.
Through two weeks, my picks need more consistency as well. After missing six games all of last season, this year has humbled me with a 5-5 record following a 3-2 record last week.
Purnell Swett at Douglas Byrd
Both of these teams want this win as they can see their upcoming schedule doesn’t include very many favorable games. Many Robeson County football fans saw what Earlee Melvin is capable of against Fairmont to open the season and snap the Eagles’ 25-game losing streak. Douglas Byrd followed it up with a seven-point loss at South Columbus, leaving many thinking that the woes were in the past for this program.
The Rams found their offensive mark last week against Ashley, and now will look to continue it as more of the weapons around Chandler Brayboy continue to develop to help balance the offense. Dylan Lowry, who has 33 tackles in two games, should have a field day meeting Melvin and the rest of the Douglas Byrd backs at the line in this game.
Purnell Swett 38, Douglas Byrd 21
Lake View at South Robeson
These two schools are separated by 18 miles, which is closer for the Mustangs than most of the other schools in the county. Somewhere on that trip, possibly across the state line, is the difference in a good rushing team and a great rushing team. The Wild Gators have had very few problems in the past with the Mustangs, including in 2016 during its undefeated season that ended with a state championship.
South Robeson and its younger players that are being asked to play a big part due to injuries to starters, will look to secure the ball to keep drives going, and also try to slow down an experienced rushing attack from Lake View.
Lake View 42, South Robeson 8
Lumberton at South View
While last week’s loss against Westover seemed to be a carbon copy of how the game last year went, this meeting brings back a similar feeling for both teams. South View was 2-0 last year entering the Lumberton game, same as this year, and the Pirates are still in search of their first win once again. Lumberton will need to pull the same gameplan out again to take on the Tigers, but make sure it can seal the deal in crunch time.
The Pirates held South View quarterback Donovan Brewington to one of his lowest passing yardage outputs of the season, and will need that again on Friday, along with making sure it executes well in the special teams and holds on to the ball on offense.
South View 34, Lumberton 24
Fairmont at Ashley
With two weeks to prepare for this game, Fairmont will have its first chance to show improvement from the holes in its game that was shown in the loss to Douglas Byrd. The main issue will be if its run defense is improved and ready to slow down Zach Williams and the rest of the Screaming Eagles’ run game, after being torched for more than 400 yards two weeks ago.
The Fairmont offense, which in the past has had no problem with putting up big numbers on the scoreboard, should make its return this week and possibly with a new quarterback. If its defense can force stops and get turnovers, this game should easily go in Fairmont’s favor.
Fairmont 38, Ashley 28
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.