LUMBERTON — As Tyreik McCallum lined up in the backfield for the opening kickoff of Friday’s 35-21 win against Pine Forest, the Lumberton sophomore was simply looking for a hole.
“When I saw the kick, I knew I could take it to the house,” McCallum said. “I’ve got some of the better blockers on the team on my kick returns, I’ve just got to follow the blocks and we’ll be good.”
The blocks took him where he needed to go, giving him a lane to sprint up the center of the field for a 98-yard touchdown that gave the Pirates the lead for the entirety of the game.
It was one of two early special teams plays that set up Pirate scores in the team’s third straight win, dating back to last season’s finale against Purnell Swett, and the first time the team has opened a season 2-0 since 2011.
After Pine Forest went 3-and-out on the game’s first drive, Monquez Townsend blocked a punt to set up a 25-yard drive that put the Pirates up 14-0 midway through the first.
“It definitely gave us a boost,” said Lumberton coach Mike Setzer. “We attack special teams like any other play. It’s not lay down play for us. We definitely take it seriously and are ready for it.”
Lumberton held Pine Forest scoreless for the first half and had three interceptions. Two of the Trojans’ touchdowns came against the Pirates’ second string late in the game.
The Pirates’ primary offense came from Josh Sheridan, who had 131 yards on 14 carries. The night included three touchdowns, including one for 65 yards and another in the second half for 46.
“He really came through in the clutch,” Setzer said. “He had a couple of short gains he turned into big plays.”
Quarterback Auston Foley finished 5-for-10 for 24 yards and one touchdown.
Pine Forest opened the second half with a five-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Myron Fleming. Fleming had two passing touchdowns in the final two minutes.
The first came on a short drive after the Trojans picked up a fumble. Fleming hit Willis Anthony with an 18-yard strike.
Pine Forest then surprised Lumberton with an onside kick that gave the Trojans the ball at the Pirate 45. After a few passes moved the ball to the 31, Fleming went to Caleb Fuller for the touchdown.
Fleming’s second-half resurgence came through in the stats. He went 1-for-7 with six yards in the first half and then went 6-for-10 for 94 yards in the second. He also led his team with 45 rushing yards.
Setzer said the quarterback’s late success was something his team needed to work on.
“We stress that our backups need to be as good as our starters, so we take away from here that we’ve got work to do,” he said.
Of the 10 passes that Fleming missed on, three were picked off. Monquez Townsend had the first, Devante Stephens the second and Travis Suggs had the third, his third interception of the season.
The team will take it’s undefeated season on the road next week against South View and Setzer said his team will have to keep a game-by-game perspective.
“We can’t worry about being a certain number-and-0. We wanted to be 1-0, then we wanted to be 2-0 and this week we want to be 3-0,” he said. “We won’t think about anything down the road.”
Lumberton 35, Pine Forest 21
Pine Forest 0 0 7 14 — 21
Lumberton 14 7 7 7 — 35
L — Tyriek McCallum 98 kick return (Jayce Ward kick)
L — Josh Sheridan 1 run (Ward kick)
L — Sheridan 65 run (Ward kick)
PF — Myron Fleming 4 run (Kick good)
L — Sheridan 46 run (Dylan Scott kick)
L — Stefhan Green 11 pass from Auston Foley (Scott kick)
PF — Willis Anthony 18 pass from Fleming (Kick good)
PF — Caleb Fuller 31 pass from Fleming (Kick good)
Passing — PF: Myron Fleming 7-17-3-101; L: Auston Foley 5-10-0-24
Rushing — PF: Fleming 25-45, Willis Anthony 5-27, Deomantay Thornton 3-16; L: Josh Sheridan 14-131, Troy Mitchell 8-23.
Receiving — PF: Caleb Fuller 2-36, Lawrence Watson 2-19, Trenton Evans 1-17, Willis Anthony 1-18; L: Stefhan Green 2-16, Jamal Cromartie 1-5, Tyreik McCallum 2-3.