Friday’s Forecast: St. Pauls-Whiteville winner earns separation

By Brad Crawford

October 2, 2013

If last week determined a hint of validation, Friday night represents a chance at separation for the St. Pauls Bulldogs.

Trey Sasser’s team passed its first big test of the season at Fairmont on Saturday, downing the Golden Tornadoes with big plays on offense and a boisterous front seven that kept quarterback Jarrod Neal uncomfortable and on his toes away from the pocket most of the contest.

The opposite philosophy’s in play this week as St. Pauls hosts Whiteville, a program intent on churning the clock and beating the opponent at the point of attack instead of scoring points in a hurry; although I’m sure Wolfpack coach Luke Little would welcome a couple of long touchdown runs if they’re available.

It’s been nearly 10 years since these two programs have battled on the gridiron and it’s the only game in the Three Rivers Conference this week that should be decided by less than a touchdown. On equal footing at 1-0 in league play, this one’s important for both teams.

Week 6 Record: 1-3; Overall 19-10

An abysmal 1-3 performance in Week 6 probably ends my hopes at finishing in the 80-percent accuracy range this season, but I’ll try it again this week because you’re never as bad as your last loss, right? We’ll see.

Whiteville (4-1, 1-0) at St. Pauls (4-1, 1-0)

A win here puts St. Pauls in the driver’s seat in the Three Rivers Conference, but Whiteville is coming off its biggest win in sometime and has already surpassed last season’s win total. The league’s Game of the Week should come down to a late stop in the fourth quarter and I like the Bulldogs’ proven ability to finish football games.

St. Pauls 28, Whiteville 27

Red Springs (0-5, 0-1) at South Columbus (3-2, 1-0)

Red Springs is starting at its sixth straight loss unless South Columbus gets caught looking ahead. The Stallions have never fallen to the Red Devils and there’s too many weapons — especially on defense — to let that happen this season. Without a reliable running back and several receivers hit with the injury bug, this one’s tough for Red Springs.

South Columbus 44, Red Springs 20

Fairmont (4-1, 1-0) at West Columbus (2-3, 0-1)

Penalties and poor tackling damaged Fairmont’s chances in Saturday’s conference opener against St. Pauls and still, the Golden Tornadoes were a late touchdown away from sending the game into overtime. Forgetting about that one and focusing on West Columbus is Randy Ragland’s job this week as Fairmont takes on an opponent that won’t be able to match the Golden Tornadoes athletically.

Fairmont 37, West Columbus 15

South Robeson (4-1, 1-0) at East Columbus (2-3, 0-1)

Can the Mustangs respond after last week’s big win over Red Springs? I can assure you it’ll be difficult for coach Stephen Roberson to get his team emotionally ready for this one compared to a rivalry game and if South Robeson isn’t careful, may return to Rowland with its first league loss. The Gators will have their hands full stopping the opposing backfield during what should be another big game for Juan Ellerbe and Andrew Hill.

South Robeson 30, East Columbus 20

Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at 910-272-6119 or at Follow him on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.