Through three weeks, three teams in Robeson County are still looking for a win, while two others are without a loss.
This week, all five put their unblemished wins and losses columns on the line in a week where the Three Rivers Conference kicks off with one of the biggest matchups of the season in Red Springs and South Columbus. Lumberton, South Robeson and Fairmont all take on teams that are either winless or have one win, giving each winnable games to try to get in the win column in Week 4. St. Pauls, like Red Springs is looking to stay undefeated in its conference debut.
Through three weeks, I have posted an 8-6 record to match my loss total from last year.
South Columbus at Red Springs
This game should end relatively quickly as both teams like to ground and pound the ball. Red Springs coach Lawrence Ches said his team is much like the Stallions, who have been the pedigree of the Three Rivers Conference in the each of the last three years, as they are both hard working and love to run the football.
The power in the conference could shift mightily in favor of the winner of this game, but a loss is nothing either one of these teams will be able to come back from. Whoever can come up with a late turnover or stop should come out on top of this one.
Red Springs 23, South Columbus 21
St. Pauls at East Columbus
The first two weeks of the year, I picked against the Bulldogs and they have came out on top on the road to prove me wrong. The third time is the charm picking St. Pauls on the road, as I have been fooled too much this season. The Bulldogs are the real deal and their quest to finish among the top teams in the conference begins against the Gators.
St. Pauls fans might not want me to pick them to win a game after they have proved me wrong the first two times, but the defense mixed with the balanced offense from the Bulldogs will be too much in this game.
St. Pauls 35, East Columbus 12
Lumberton at West Brunswick
The Pirates are in need of a win, and what better way could it be as they travel to their coach’s previous school down in Shallotte. The question on Friday is not of whether Lumberton can piece drives together to win this game, but if the defense can slow down its opponent to let the offense build a lead.
The Trojans fought tough in its home loss to Whiteville two weeks ago in its only competition against North Carolina teams. That defensive effort will be needed to slow down Braylan Grice and Co., but doing it is a different story.
Lumberton 28, West Brunswick 20
West Bladen at Fairmont
One of these teams gets the much-needed win and will have a share of the conference lead after the first week of conference play, and that should be Fairmont. The Golden Tornadoes have outmatched their first two opponents with their athletes, and is in the same situation this week. Being able to stop the run has been its problem. This week should be an easier task, as long as Fairmont can cut out mistakes that stripped them of getting the win last week.
Fairmont 42, West Bladen 28
West Columbus at South Robeson
Back to full strength coming off the blowout loss to Lake View, the Mustangs have to be the happiest team in the county to get to see conference play. The Mustangs take their first step toward the postseason this week against the Vikings, but will needed a balanced effort for its offense that has to value the ball in order to get this winnable contest.
South Robeson showed flashes of being able to keep up with Lake View last week, and will need four quarters of it this week to definitively show it can compete in this league.
South Robeson 27, West Columbus 18
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.