First Posted: 10/6/2011
ROWLAND — The South Robeson Mustangs aren’t asking for sympathy.
Their focused on snapping an 11-game losing streak at home Friday against St. Pauls.
“To be honest, our guys don’t think about the losses,” Warwick said Wednesday before practice. “We’ve started this program from scratch and we’re a very young team. It take time to win.”
Warwick got some good news Wednesday when sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Swett was cleared to practice and play against the Bulldogs. He won’t start, but Warwick says he will factor in the game plan and spell Jordan Swett under center if need be.
“Jordan’s a capable passer but he’s an all-conference defensive end,” Warwick said. “He played defensive end in middle school and likes the position. We’ll line up with what we’ve got and see what happens. Having Jeremiah back helps us. It’s all about execution on our part.”
Warwick expected this treacherous stretch when he arrived in Rowland to rebuild a program “from the ground up” in 2010.
He instituted a new weight training program, an intense practice schedule and tried to instill fundamentals in his inexperienced football team.
“We’ve already made humongous gains, I think, and pretty soon we’ll be comparable to other teams in the county,” Warwick said. “Next year, we’ll return seven starters on both sides of the ball. We won’t be a bunch of rookies anymore.”
Unforeseen injuries this season have halted the Mustangs’ progression, a group expected to manage three or four wins.
“What has happened is we’ve had injuries and that’s hurt us,” Warwick said. “Our starting o-line is pretty good, but it’s real thin. You take the two starting guards away from any team, I don’t care who they are, and they’ll struggle.”
Warwick is confident the ship is turning in the right direction at South Robeson (0-6, 0-1).
“The new (weight) equipment was the key and we’re able to get stronger,” he said. “Between this year and next offseason, our second full year of a strength and conditioning program, our numbers will be comparable to some of the other schools in the county.
“It’s always been a three-year plan. Three years from the very beginning when those sophomores are seniors and those freshman are juniors. We’re going to make it.”
Meanwhile, St. Pauls (3-4, 0-1) is working on fixing its mistakes on offense, as the Bulldogs tied a season-high last week with four turnovers against Red Springs.
Tailback Shawn Williams had his streak of 100-yard games snapped at five and only managed 15 carries playing from behind most of the game.
“We’re going to try and run the ball and mix in some play-action,” Warwick said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Brown’s impact noticeable
RED SPRINGS — When he isn’t catching touchdown passes, he’s returning kicks. When the play is a designed run, he’s blocking downfield for Xavier McEachern and Blake Greene.
Julian Brown, Red Springs’ speedy wide receiver, is having an all-conference and all-county caliber season for the Red Devils, who are ranked No. 12 in the latest NCpreps.com Baker’s Dozen poll.
Brown caught four passes for 72 yards in last week’s win at St. Pauls and returned a second-half kickoff 62 yards for a score. He handled the kick near the St. Pauls sideline, reversed field at the 50 and went untouched down the visiting sideline for the score.
Brown leads a balanced attack on offense Friday against East Columbus, a Gators squad giving up just 13.8 points per game.
Red Springs coach George Coltharp says East Columbus is a talented team, one that will test the Red Devils (5-1, 1-0) with speed and quickness. Coached by Toby Kasell, the Gators (3-3, 1-0) have won three straight games — including Monday’s shutout of West Columbus — since opening the season with three consecutive losses.
“We’re a good football team,” Kasell said to the Star-News. “Kids will think it, but when they have confidence that they are, you can see it. I’ve said it before, but a lot of our kids hadn’t had that varsity experience. It was gonna take two or three games to get them up to the speed of varsity play. And they’ve done that now. Those last two games of non-conference, they brought their A game.”
Tornadoes still aren’t ranked
FAIRMONT — One of 31 teams unbeaten in North Carolina, the Fairmont Golden Tornadoes aren’t ranked in any of the state’s football polls for the seventh consecutive week.
Seven wins, including road victories at 4A Wilmington Ashley and rival Lake View (S.C.), and a 1-0 start in Three Rivers play hasn’t been impressive enough to sway voters.
In the carolinapreps.com media poll, the Golden Tornadoes have a single vote from 20 writers and are absent from the N.C. Associated Press rankings. NCpreps.com doesn’t even have Fairmont in its Baker’s Dozen for 2A schools. Six of those 13 teams have one loss.
“We don’t pay attention to that stuff, we’re just worrying about us,” Fairmont coach Keith Wood said.
The Golden Tornadoes (7-0, 1-0) go for their 10th consecutive conference win Friday at West Columbus (1-6, 0-1).
Staff writer Brad Crawford can be reached at (910) 272-6119 or at [email protected]