LUMBERTON – Any game between Purnell Swett and Lumberton is a meaningful game.
When the two have gone through long, difficult seasons without much success, the chance to face each other not only offers the chance to brag, but also the chance for each to achieve a season-ending victory.
That chance arises when the Pirates welcome the Rams on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“That’s what we’re trying to get our guys to understand, we want to end this season on a high note and build momentum for next season,” said Lumberton coach Adam Deese. “Winning two out of three games at the end of the season would be a great motivation for our guys and it would be great for our community and our school to do that. “
“It’s a good opportunity for us to capitalize on another team that we feel like we compete well,” said Roberson.
Rivals meet for the 38th time on Friday – Lumberton leads 19-18 – after a COVID-19 quarantine cost them the chance to meet last season. The game offers a big-game feel for every program, even though both teams’ seasons will come to an end at the end of Friday’s game, with both being well outside the intended playoff field.
“I can see a difference in the energy the kids have here,” said Roberson, who will be in his first Lumberton-Purnell Swett game as a head coach, but was previously an assistant coach at Purnell Swett in 2011. -12. “There’s a different benefit to the way they’re going this week. They are excited about it. As a coach, I think I try to make each game as important as the next, but I can say that there is a little extra juice added to this one with them.
Deese has known both sides of the series – as an assistant to Purnell Swett and now in his second Pirates-Rams contest as Lumberton’s head coach.
“While working at Swett, these kids mark it on their calendars on the first day of the season. Lumberton, we’re trying to develop that, that same passion that Swett has for it, ”Deese said. “It’s a big game, and that’s one thing we’re talking about now about these kids is that it’s been marked on the schedule since day one, you have to be excited for that, it’s a clash. in the county and that’s what you’re playing for.
Both teams enter the game after struggling offensively throughout the season. Both defenses allowed plenty of points, but were often hampered by poor field position due to offensive ineffectiveness, and showed occasional flashes of solid play.
The result could be a low scoring game on Friday.
“Up front, Purnell Swett has a great front, their first seven are legitimate. I think our first seven are also legitimate, ”Deese said. “It will happen in front; whoever creates that space and has the big wins and has the big games, they’ll take the torch and win this rivalry.
“We’re really trying to find a way offensively to help our defense,” said Roberson. “I think throughout the year, even though the scores have been quite lopsided, they fought and held the line in most games.”
Lumberton (1-7, 1-5 United-8 Conference) claimed their only win of the season two weeks ago in a 26-0 triumph over Douglas Byrd; Purnell Swett lost to the same Eagles 6-3 team last week, while Lumberton lost 54-7 to the 71st unbeaten.
The Pirates showed a more offensive balance against the Eagles, with Issiah Bartow throwing three touchdowns, two of which were caught by Ernest Bratcher. Jacoby Pevia and Quintez Shipman are the main Pirates rushers.
“With a young team, you learn day by day, and every day is a process, and it will be an ongoing process and we have to work to get there,” said Deese. “But we have to make sure we don’t make any mistakes on Friday, because those mistakes will cost the ball dearly.”
Purnell Swett (0-5, 0-5 United-8) has lost five straight games this season and 10 straight games in total after only playing on October 2 due to multiple quarantine rounds due to COVID-19 protocols .
Garyen Maynor made his first quarterback debut last week and will face the Pirates again, as the Rams seek a more consistent presence to allow them to open the passing game.
“Hopefully, in terms of patterns, we can do some things to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hand a little faster, and do some things to help the backers, different running patterns and just try. to create spaces in space, ”Roberson mentioned. “We get bombed a lot because we are young and they take advantage of it. “
Purnell Swett won the most recent reunion, a 24-21 overtime thriller in 2019, and won 11 of the last 17 in the series; Lumberton have won five of the last eight. The teams have not played this spring.
Red Springs to St. Pauls
Last season, Red Springs and St. Pauls met as two undefeated teams with the conference title on the line.
This fall, the Red Devils (1-5, 0-5 Southeastern Athletic Conference) have not had the same level of success, but they will still be looking to end St. Pauls (7-0, 5-0 Southeastern) undefeated season when the Bulldogs host Red Springs on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs, who have won 14 straight regular-season victories, won only a share of the Southeast title with a 28-18 victory last week at Fairmont, the winning margin closest to the team this season. A victory on Friday allows the team to win the second straight conference championship.
In six of the Bulldogs’ seven games, Kemarion Baldwin racked up at least 144 yards and two touchdowns; Friday, he could exceed 20 touchdowns for the season. Mikail Breeden could also approach the 1,000-yard mark.
Red Springs have lost five straight games since a 22-8 season opener on August 20 over Douglas Byrd. The Red Devils have had 10 days to prepare for the Bulldogs after being shutout by Fairmont and Clinton in their last two games.
St. Pauls leads the 34-32 all-time series and has three straight and four of the last five wins, including the 42-25 victory on April 9.
Fairmont in Midway
Despite a loss record, a tough schedule has helped Fairmont stay near the playoff bubble in the state’s RPI rankings. On Friday, the Golden Tornadoes take the field 31st overall in 2A East and can likely seal a playoff berth with a win when they face Midway at 7pm.
The Golden Tornadoes (2-6, 2-3 Southeastern) could make it into the 2A playoff squad even with a loss, but a win would almost certainly keep them on the pitch, where the top 32 are expected to advance. Midway (5-4, 2-3 Southeastern) is ranked 23rd and will likely qualify regardless.
The Raiders have lost three of their last four games, including a 49-35 loss last week at East Bladen. Midway scored 40.4 points per game, but also allows 38.1 per game.
Midway’s Wyatt Holland threw for 2,181 yards and 29 touchdowns, with just two interceptions this season; Trey Gregory had 953 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Fairmont scared St. Pauls in last week’s 28-18 game, which was a one-possession contest until the last 3 minutes, and won the previous two weeks against East Bladen and Red Springs.
Friday’s game will be the first football meeting between the schools.