LUMBERTON — With the threat of Hurricane Florence rapidly approaching the Carolina coast, drenching any possibility of football this week, we figured it would be an appropriate time to forecast the remaining seasons for each Robeson County team. To stay on topic, the season predictions will follow the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale format and be separated into categories with 1 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest.
The Golden Tornadoes, as ironic as it may sound, don’t have much of a chance of causing destruction this season. They’re fresh off their first win of the season against a winless West Bladen team, but the road ahead looks problematic. Whenever football resumes, they travel to West Columbus in what should be a second win. After that, however, they go through a five-game stretch facing teams that have just three losses combined. They just don’t have enough defensive toughness to handle the tough ground-and-pound teams in the Three Rivers Conference.
Fairmont goes 1-4 in that five-game gauntlet and then picks up its last win of the season at home against East Columbus to finish with a 4-7 record.
Quarterback Braylan Grice is the ultimate variable, so he alone warrants a higher rating on the scale. His team, however, doesn’t offer much in a conference with thoroughbreds like Richmond and Scotland. The Pirates should win their second straight when they travel to Hoke. After that, wins will be almost impossible to come by as they travel to Jack Britt, host Seventy-First, Pinecrest and Richmond before traveling to Scotland.
They’ll go 1-4 in that stretch and end the season with a loss at Purnell Swett to drop to 3-8.
Purnell Swett: Category-3
Another team that suffers from playing in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. Purnell Swett has a decent team and can contend for Robeson County supremacy, but they’re outmatched in the talent category. Elon commit Chandler Brayboy is the pulse of the team. He provides the majority of the offense and when needed, he plays a key role in the secondary on defense.
Winners of two straight, the Rams will win just two more games to close the season with a 4-7 record.
Red Springs: Category-4
Talent and enthusiasm drive coach Lawrence Ches’ bunch. They come off a gut-wrenching loss at home to conference foe South Columbus, which shouldn’t hamper their confidence. With a strong running game fueled by senior Jayshawn Carthen and a solid defense, the Red Devils could easily run the table from here on out.
They won’t, however, but they’ll get dangerously close and go 7-1 in the remaining portion of their schedule, with the only loss coming at the hands of rival St. Pauls in the last game of the year to finish 9-2.
South Robeson: Category-1
The Mustangs should enjoy their first win of the season, because it will be one of their last. This year’s group is too unseasoned to make any waves in the conference. An improving running game will make some contests interesting, but it won’t be enough.
Clay Jernigan’s team will win two more games, at West Bladen and East Columbus, and finish with a 3-9 record.
St. Pauls: Category-4
The group with the most potential to totally wreck the Three Rivers Conference is Mike Setzer’s squad. They stand alone in the county as the only undefeated team after a 44-0 drubbing of East Columbus. With a powerful running game, led by county-leading rusher Marqueise Coleman and a disruptive defense, the Bulldogs are poised for their best season in a few years.
They’ll drop just two games, at home against South Columbus and at East Bladen, in their remaining eight. That’ll put them right in the thick of things for the conference title with a 9-2 record.
Donnell Coley can be reached at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Sportsinmyveins.