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.