First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - “This isn't a Band-Aid fix,” Lumberton head coach Mike Brill said on Monday concerning the growth of the football program.
Unfortunately for his team, he's exactly right, as Band-Aids will do little to help the growing list of injured Pirates.
Following a 20-7 loss at Purnell Swett, Brill's squad lost four more starters for this week's game against Terry Sanford to injury. Offensive tackle Jamie Bell, ankle, is doubtful, while Kenny Smith, knee, and Craig Stevens, ankle, are out against the Bulldogs.
“They're good - they have the total package,” Brill said. “They have nine seniors on offense and eight on defense. Their tight end is the best in the state and probably the best tight end I've seen in 25 years.”
Brill is referring to Bulldogs tight end Dwayne Allen, who has made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Georgia.
“You don't gameplan for a player like him,” Brill said. “He's 6-4, runs like a deer and is such an effective blocker. If he doesn't get injured you'll see him playing in the NFL.”
Injuries and record not withstanding, Brill is happy with his team.
“The players do everything the coaches ask them to do,” he said. “It's frustrating because every week we have two to three injuries and we get so low in numbers.”
Jameze Thompson, bruised shoulder, and Michael Breland, ankle, are expected to play.
Fairmont at West Bladen
Fairmont continues its three-game stretch away from home as the Golden Tornados travel to Bladenboro to face West Bladen.
Following a 21-7 loss at Heide Trask, head coach Kim Brown wasn't upset with the final score, but more with his team's apparent lack of motivation.
“Obviously, we didn't handle their offense real well,” he said. “But it just goes back to effort. If you don't give out you are not going to get anything.”
The effort of the Golden Tornadoes will have to improve in order to upset West Bladen on the road. The Knights are on a three-game winning streak, have averaged 36 points per game in those contests, and are the only team in the Southeastern 2-A/1-A Conference without a league blemish.
Kim said that the issue with West Bladen is not the difficulty of its offensive scheme, but its simplicity.
“They run right at you,” he said. “They ain't real fancy with what they do, they just run right at you.”
Brown will be looking for improved effort from his squad in practice this week.
“I just wasn't pleased with the amount of effort given last week,” he said. “If we have the same level of effort the next four weeks, we aren't going to beat anybody.”
Red Springs at East Bladen
Color Red Springs head coach Clay Jernigan concerned about his team's upcoming trip to face the East Bladen Eagles. And why wouldn't he be?
East Bladen has outscored its opponents 65-7 in the last two weeks and leads the conference in fewest points allowed, yielding only 79 total points and 11.2 points per game this season. In fact, only three opponents - Whiteville, South Columbus and St. Pauls - have scored in double figures against the Eagles this season.
Jernigan believes turnovers will be the difference in the game.
“We're going to have to play mistake-free football,” he said. “They are really fundamentally sound and we just have to focus. Even if they go up two touchdowns, we can't panic and just have to focus.”
Coming off its first win of the season, a 23-15 triumph over West Columbus, Jernigan said his team is ready for the challenge that awaits.
“We needed that (win), it was a major confidence booster,” he said.
Starting right-guard Demarr McNeil will play, despite having toe surgery earlier in the week.
West Columbus at St. Pauls
It has been a difficult year for West Columbus,. The Vikings enters its matchup against St. Pauls winless and losers of eight straight.
The Vikings have been shut out three times this season - home against Whiteville and West Bladen, and at South Columbus. Entering the matchup with St. Pauls, West Columbus is giving up 30.1 points per game, good for last in the conference.
The problem for West Columbus is that their weakness is St. Pauls' strength: The Bulldogs have scored 30 or more points four times this season and lead the conference in points per game, with 26.5. Last week, head coach Mike Setzer's team lost a shootout at West Bladen 52-51 and trail the Knights by one game in the conference standings.