There were three blowouts on Friday in high school football games featuring teams from Robeson County, but only one squad was on the good side of a rout.
The St. Pauls Bulldogs were the lone winner during Week 4, earning a 30-7 home win over West Bladen, with Lumberton dropping a 44-21 contest to Seventy-First for its third straight loss and Purnell Swett losing 49-6 at Westover to drop to 2-2 on the year.
As the season progresses, we’ll highlight the top performances of the week — from teams and individuals — and give insight on the teams trending up and players to keep an eye on as the state playoffs draw closer.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
St. Pauls: Bulldogs coach Ernest King wanted to see his team come out strong against West Bladen and his offense responded with 21 first-quarter points en route to a dominating win over the visiting Knights.
Behind a potent rushing attack led by running back Chris Graham and quarterback Noah Wheeler, the Bulldogs racked up 342 yards of offense with Graham rushing for 111 yards and Wheeler adding 71 on the ground and 146 through the air.
The junior quarterback accounted for three touchdowns in the win, with his only blemishes coming on a pair of interceptions.
Just as impressive was the St. Pauls defense, which held West Bladen to 54 total yards and forced four turnovers, giving up an early touchdown and shutting the Knights down the rest of the way.
If the Bulldogs can eliminate silly turnovers, the squad is capable of competing with every team in the Three Rivers Conference.
King’s squad will have this week off before traveling to Red Springs for its first conference test of the season.
Noah Wheeler, QB, St. Pauls: Through four games this season, Wheeler has lived up to a portion of his last name, showing his ability to keep defenses on edge as a running quarterback.
But on Friday, Wheeler added a much-needed element in the passing game, throwing a pair of touchdowns in the win over West Bladen. Despite two interceptions, his growth was evident as he relied on 6-foot-5 wideout Mike Barnes and the speedy Dakota Oxendine.
Wheeler accounted for 222 yards, finishing 11-for-21 through the air for 146 yards and rushing for 76 more.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
Chris Ray Jr., LB, St. Pauls — Tallied four tackles and a fumble recovery.
D.J. Henson, CB, St. Pauls — Finished with four tackles and an interception.
Tyreik McCallum, ATH, Lumberton — Returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and had eight catches for 68 yards.
Brandon Norris, WR, Lumberton — Recorded three receptions for a team-high 77 yards receiving.
Tae Tae Stephenson, LB, Lumberton — Scored Lumberton’s only offensive touchdown and had a tackle for a loss.
Al’Drique Thompson, RB, Purnell Swett — Led the Rams with 41 rushing yards and a 21-yard touchdown run.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.