It happens too often in football.
Fans, writers, even coaches, are quick to dismiss a star player’s ability after an uncharacteristic performance.
Red Springs quarterback Blake Greene would be the first to admit he wasn’t his usual self during last week’s loss at Eastern Wayne. Starting under center a few hours after his grandmother’s wake, the highly-decorated senior threw a career-high six interceptions and struggled in the passing game as the Red Devils dropped to a surprising 0-3.
Upon further inspection, there are reasons behind the madness.
The bond between Greene and first-year receiving options Dwayne Fairley and Jaqwan McLaurin is still coagulating and the offense has been without his starting tailback, Doody Lesane, for what amounts to three straight weeks.
It’s not time to bury the Red Devils and their all-state quarterback yet.
They’re still the defending Three Rivers champions with a small community-sized chip on their shoulders that has started to swell since losing to Purnell Swett at home in the final five minutes two weeks ago.
Week 3 Record 4-2; Overall 12-5
Lumberton found early success against South View, but despite forcing seven turnovers, couldn’t muster enough offense to win its first game. Red Springs’ loss was more surprising, a setback that dropped the Red Devils to the bottom of the county rankings since debuting in the top spot during the preseason. Don’t expect Red Springs to stay there another week.
Fairmont (3-0) at Lake View, S.C. (0-2)
One of the more underrated border battles in the Carolinas, Fairmont’s 12-mile trek down N.C. 41 South is a big one for the Golden Tornadoes who are one win away from finishing their non-conference slate unbeaten. Last year’s matchup was unfortunately defined by a brawl at the end of the fourth quarter that left a couple of players suspended and Fairmont disqualified from the postseason. Whatever happens in the second half this week, the Golden Tornadoes must keep their attitudes in check to avoid a repeat of last season’s disaster that derailed a program that had won three straight conference titles.
Fairmont 34, Lake View, S.C. 22
South Johnston (0-3) at Red Springs (0-3)
Coach George Coltharp’s not satisfied with his team at this point of the season, but he’s not throwing in the towel either. He said this week the Red Devils are a few plays away from having two wins at this point. Breaks haven’t gone Red Springs’ way and newcomers on defense are still adjusting to the speed of the game. South Johnston has been shutout twice this season and Red Springs’ front seven led by senior linebacker Markeiss Blue would like nothing more than to add another egg to that column. The Red Devils are in dire need of confidence boost heading into the bye week.
Red Springs 34, South Johnston 12
New Hanover (1-1) at Purnell Swett (1-2)
The non-conference schedule doesn’t let up for the Rams who are matched up against a Wilmington-based power for the second consecutive week. These two programs are on different levels right now, but the Rams may have a chance after the Wildcats graduated nearly every starter off last year’s team. Turnovers will decide this one and Swett still has problems maintaining possession of the football, something that’s plagued the Rams the last several seasons.
New Hanover 44, Swett 20
Lumberton (0-3) at Seventy-First (3-0)
It’s been a tumultuous opening month for first-year coach Joe Salas and the Lumberton Pirates. First, the Pirates saw an early lead at Douglas Byrd evaporate in the opener thanks to a two-hour lightning delay then overcame a 27-point deficit at Pine Forest only to lose in the final frame. On Wednesday, the school’s athletic director accepted the same position in another county. What gives for the Pirates? Nothing this week as a visit to unbeaten Seventy-First looms Friday.
Seventy-First 36, Lumberton 14
St. Pauls (2-1) at West Bladen (2-1)
Is St. Pauls hitting its stride in prep for the Three Rivers Conference? Coach Trey Sasser sure hopes so and likes what he saw from his group in last week’s narrow win over Southern Lee. The Bulldogs seem to be gelling on both sides of the football and Chuck Walters is a budding star at wide receiver. Look for St. Pauls quarterback Malik Livingston to have another big night as he’s adjusted nicely to the Bulldogs’ uptempo game plan.
St. Pauls 28, West Bladen 14
Reach staff writer Brad Crawford at 910-272-6119 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.