LUMBERTON — Predictions are always a big concern for hurricanes, but also for sports. So, why not in a time where everyone is trying to guess what path Hurricane Florence is going to take give predictions on how the Robeson County football postseason awards races look a third of the way into the season.
Granted there is still a large portion of the schedule remaining that the teams will get to once the storm has passed and Robeson County is safe again, here’s who seems to be the leaders for the Robeson County Heisman, offensive Player of the Year, defensive Player of the Year, Most improved player of the year and Coach of the year.
No player has meant more for their team through the first four weeks of the season than Braylan Grice. The senior quarterback, who is also starting in the secondary on defense, for the Pirates is proving he is worth the No. 1 ranking that came in the preseason Top 15 rankings.
Grice has accounted for 14 of the total 17 touchdowns for Lumberton through its first four games, and also leads the county in passing with 706 yards. He also has two interceptions on defense.
The stretch that Lumberton is about to embark on over the next few weeks with the start of conference play was when Grice thrived last season, and much of the same is expected this year.
With Grice leading the county with his offensive output, there is a short list of players behind him that are in the conversation for offensive Player of the Year in the county. The names that have stood out the most in first four weeks are St. Pauls’ Marqueise Coleman, Fairmont’s Jordan Waters and Purnell Swett’s Chandler Brayboy.
Both Coleman and Brayboy have posted big games in recent weeks as Brayboy has posted five touchdowns in his last two outings and Coleman is coming off a 300-plus-yard performance against East Columbus that included three touchdowns.
Waters started hot in the loss to Douglas Byrd with 152 yards receiving and three touchdowns, and since has added three touchdowns in the last two weeks.
The next few games should give a clearer picture on who will be the county’s second-best offensive player behind Grice.
On the defensive side of the ball, St. Pauls as a group has been dominant, and one player from that group could emerge as the top defensive player in the county, but at this point that player would have to top the tackling machine that is Dylan Lowry from Purnell Swett.
Through his first two games, Lowry posted 33 tackles, and is coming off a 94-tackle season a year ago.
There are a lot of players that have shown improvements this year from last, making this one of the toughest awards to levy out. Red Springs has two candidates in quarterback Denym McKeithan and running back Jayshawn Carthen.
Carthen has posted nearly 400 yards on the ground through three games this year and McKeithan has accounted for seven touchdowns in that same time period.
Also in contention could be South Robeson sophomore running back P.J. Christian, with three 100-yard rushing games.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The name of the award might have to be changed around to the interim Coach of the Year for this award with the job Mike Setzer has done at St. Pauls in the short time. Coming on midway through July on an interim basis, Setzer has coached the Bulldogs to the best start in recent history.
Of course, having one of the best running backs in the county and a stout defense to boot helps get the Bulldogs to where they are now under the guidance of Setzer.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.