First Posted: 9/2/2010
FAIRMONT Fairmont coach Keith Wood and his Golden Tornadoes may be one healthy running back and five yards away from being unbeaten.
Instead, Fairmont missed Alex Gilchrist’s running abilities in the second half of the season opener against Gray’s Creek in a 43-21 loss. Last week, the Golden Tornadoes marched down to the North Brunswick 5-yard line before time expired and allowed the home team to escape with a 20-14 win.
Wood believes his team may not have been able to overcome Gray’s Creek even with a healthy Gilchrist in the second half, but thinks the North Brunswick game slipped away from them.
“I think we could easily be 1-1, instead of 0-2,” Wood said. “Gray’s Creek is a better football team, but we did have our chances and we more or less beat ourselves. Against North Brunswick, I feel if we play them again, we might be able to beat them.”
Despite the tough luck in the first two weeks Wood said his team remains upbeat as the Golden Tornadoes play host to West Bladen Friday night.
“The kids are starting to believe, but we need to get on track,” Wood said. “The next three games are at home and we need to defend the home turf.”
Despite the 0-2 record, the Fairmont coaches and players feel they are just a tackle or an extra block away from putting together a winning streak.
“On defense, we are just missing some assignments. We are showing them on film if they would have played their assignment, then some of the plays would be gone for naught,” Wood said. “And offensively, if we could have executed a little better and been more disciplined, we could have been up something like 21-0 against Gray’s Creek.
“But the kids are excited. The kids keep battling. Not winning is killing me more than anyone.”
As Fairmont looks for its first win of the 2010 season, West Bladen comes in with some momentum after posting a 21-0 victory over South Robeson in its season opener last week.
“We got a little bit of confidence,” West Bladen coach Pat Byrd said. “It’s good for the players to get a victory under their belt.”
Byrd will be missing one of his key players this week, Robert Johnson. A wide receiver and defensive week, Johnson was ejected from last week’s win.
“I can tolerate some things, but that’s not one of them,” Byrd said about Johnson. “Getting a kid ejected is not what’s taught here or tolerated here.”
In other games this week: Lumberton will look to improve to 3-0 when it battles St. Pauls, Purnell Swett battles intra-county rival South Robeson and Red Springs will travel to West Montgomery.
South Robeson at Purnell Swett
Coaches:MarkHeil,Purnell Swett Garron Warwick,South Robeson
2010 Records: Purnell Swett 1-1. South Robeson 0-2.
Last game: South Robeson continued to struggle offensively and were blanked 21-0 by West Bladen. The Mustangs’ scoreless streak in 2010 has reached eight quarters. After having problems moving the ball in its season opener, Purnell Swett found its rhythm and rolled to a 33-0 win over St. Pauls.
Key matchups:South Robeson’s offense vs. Purnell Swett’s defense. The Mustangs have not reached the end zone this season and are the only team in the county that has not put points on the scoreboard. The offense needs to find a way to move the football and keep its counterparts off the field. Purnell Swett’s defense is two plays away from posting back-to-back shutouts. Coach Mark Heil felt his defense played well despite a season-opening loss to E.E. Smith, after last week’s shutout, he has to be thrilled with the result. The Rams have another opportunity at keeping the opponent off the scoreboard.
Chase Armstrong vs. South Robeson’s defense. It was the tale of two Chase Armstrongs this season. The Armstrong of the first week tossed three interceptions in the loss to E.E. Smith. Last week, Armstrong was 8-of-12 for 108 yards with no interceptions.
St. Pauls at Lumberton
Coaches:MikeBrill, Lumberton. Trey Sasser,St.Pauls
2010 Records: Lumberton, 2-0. St.Pauls 0-2.
Last game: St. Pauls, like this week, faced a tough 4A intra-county team in Purnell Swett. The Rams jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead and never looked back in a 33-0 win. Lumberton’s offense continues to hum like a Ferrari speeding down freeway with no desire to hit the brakes. The Pirates racked up 373 yards of total offense in a 41-7 win over Overhills.
Key matchups:St. Pauls turnovers vs. Lumberton’s ball-hawking defense. The Bulldogs look no further than the turnover margin to see why they have started the season 0-2. St. Pauls is minus five in the key stat. After having several botched snaps in the season opener, the Bulldogs continued to have problems holding on to the football against Purnell Swett. St. Pauls lost three fumbles and had two passes intercepted by the Rams. While St. Pauls is having problems keeping possession, Lumberton is doing a great job of gaining extra possessions. The Pirates have caused four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) in their first two wins.
Lumberton’s rushing attack vs. St. Pauls defense. To quote Dan Patrick back in his ESPN days, “You can’t stop him, you only hope to contain him.” That may be the motto of all of the defensive coordinators that have watched tape on Lumberton quarterback Marquez North. North after running wild against Pine Forest, he was “contained” against Overhills. North managed 70 yards on eight carries and got 60 of those on one outburst for a touchdown. North’s arm accounted for another 87 in the air, including a touchdown to Dorian Davis. St. Pauls defense has been hit from all sides in its first two games. In the season opener, the Bulldogs were assaulted by Carrboro’s air attack, while Purnell Swett used a balanced game plan to cruise to its win.
West Bladen at Fairmont
Coaches:Keith Wood, Fairmont. PatByrd,WestBladen
2010 Records: Fairmont 0-2. WestBladen 1-0.
Last game: West Bladen kicked off its 2010 campaign in style with a 21-0 victory over South Robeson and avenged a loss in last year’s season opener to the Mustangs. Fairmont suffered another heartbreaker, this time at North Brunswick. The Golden Tornadoes moved the football down to the North Brunswick 5, before time expired in a 20-14 loss.
Key matchups: West Bladen’s “Pistol” offense vs. Fairmont’s defense. In his first season with the Knights, coach Pat Byrd had his offense clicking at times against South Robeson. After a scoreless first quarter, the “Pistol” started firing. Lorenzo Drew rushed for a game-high 202 yards on 15 carries. The Knights rolled up 379 yards of total offense, not bad for a team that was shut out three times in a row at the end of the 2009 season. Last week, Fairmont’s defense played well enough to give the offense a chance to win the game. The front seven will have to continue to improve in order to stop the Knights’ rushing attack.
Fairmont’s durability vs. Injuries. For the second straight week, Fairmont has been hit by the injury bug which may have cost it a chance to win. In week one, running back Alex Gilchrist was sidelined for the second half in the Golden Tornadoes’ loss to Gray’s Creek. Last week, it was quarterback Demetrius Washington who left with an injury. Washington was injured after throwing an interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown. Wood slid Tyreke Addison, who played well under center, but Wood would rather have a healthy unit for an entire contest.
Red Springs at West Montgomery
Coaches:EricPuryear, Red Springs. JohnPate, WestMontgomery
2010 Records: RedSprings 0-2.WestMontgomery, 1-1.
Last game: Red Springs ran into a buzzsaw in regional power East Bladen. The Eagles scored early and often in their 52-0 victory. Coming off its win against South Robeson in its season opener, West Montgomery was stopped by Plymouth 41-26.
Key matchups:Red Springs’ offense vs. Mistakes. The Red Devils don’t have problems moving the football between the 20-yard lines. It is once the team gets the ball team deep into its opposition’s territory where the problems begin. Last week against East Bladen, the Red Devils took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, but two sacks, an intentional grounding penalty and an incomplete halfback option pass caused a turnover on downs. After that, the Red Springs had limited success moving the ball.
West Montgomery quarterback Jaquil Capel vs. Red Springs’ defense. Capel has been the workhorse for the Warriors. Capel has 301 yards rushing and five touchdowns in two games for West Montgomery.