RED SPRINGS — In hindsight, Red Springs football coach Ron Cook sees the benefits that a loss and a bye week in the last three weeks has had on his team going into a tough test tomorrow.
In its second game of the season, the Red Devils lost 43-20 to Purnell Swett and coaches’ meetings and a few personnel swaps following the loss have led to his team trending upward going forward into Three Rivers Conference play.
“After looking at film and reevaluating and assessing what we had against Purnell, we made some changes on the offensive line that I thought we needed to and a little bit of changes on defense,” Cook said. “It really showed during the Harrells Christian game. We didn’t punt, we averaged five yards a carry and had just one turnover at the end when Marquis (Ray) got stripped.”
“It’s one of those things that it was a loss that we probably needed to look within ourselves. If we won that game, we might not have looked at some changes that we needed to make, and we might not be where we are now.”
Red Springs (2-1) takes on Lakewood (3-1) in its home opener tomorrow night at 7 p.m., and is hoping that lessons learned will be practical come kickoff against a tough opponent that mirrors how Red Springs plays.
“They’re like us so they like to run the ball,” Cook said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball and be more physical with them up front first on both sides of the ball.”
Behind its running attack that features Ray, Eric Graham and Justin Locklear, Red Springs has racked up 820 yards rushing. Their opponents on the opposite sideline also has multiple weapons in the backfield starting with Carsell Bennett and on the outside with wide receiver Quamaine Williams.
After a 25-14 win at Harrells Christian two weeks ago, Red Springs has used a bye week around the Labor Day holiday to recharge and fine-tune some loose ends. The results has come much to the pleasure of Cook.
“So far, these past two days have been two days of practice for us this season,” he said. “They came back and looked fresh. It was good time to get them a little bit of rest and we lifted”
Red Springs pulled out a 16-14 win at Lakewood last season.
“They’re just as good as last year, if not better on defense,” Cook said. “They’re real physical and they play hard. … Offensively, they’ve got a lot of their guys back with their two receivers and their quarterback is a pretty good player.”
The game is military appreciation day and anyone with a military ID gets into the game for free.
Jack Britt at Purnell Swett
A 49-6 loss last week halted Purnell Swett’s (2-2) two-game winning streak, and the Rams will look to rebound at home against Jack Britt (2-2) in the last non-conference meeting between the teams before Jack Britt joins the Southeastern Conference next fall.
Purnell Swett’s offense wavered against Westover last week, but still stayed committed to a balanced offense that included a rushing attack with 27 attempts and 29 pass attempts. Luke Oxendine passed for 117 yards and rushed for another 28.
Jack Britt won last year’s meeting in Fayetteville, 55-7.
Lumberton at Overhills
Riding a three-game losing skid after a win in the season opener, Lumberton (1-3) looks to get back in the win column with a road game at 3-A Overhills (2-2).
The Pirates hung tight with Seventy-First last week for a half before the Falcons took advantage of the Pirates lack of defensive depth. Tyreik McCallum is providing a spark for Lumberton on offense and in special teams this season. He is the leading receiver with 289 yards receiving and three touchdowns while having two kickoff returns for a touchdown.
Lumberton won 35-20 over Overhills last year.
Lake View at South Robeson
Still in search of its first win, South Robeson (0-3) plays host to Lake View (3-0).
The Wild Gators are coming off an appearance in the South Carolina A Division II semifinals last season. South Robeson comes into the game off a bye week after a 35-8 loss at Purnell Swett last time out.
With Darrius Brown moved back to running back from quarterback, the Mustangs are working with two players under center in sophomore Emilio Leach and senior Fabian Hunt.
Fairmont at South Brunswick
After seeing its defense give up an average of 44 points per game in the first three contests, Fairmont (0-3) looks to break the losing skid at South Brunswick (1-3).
The Fairmont defense will be up against another run heavy offense in South Brunswick led by junior running back Josh Carter with over 500 yards rushing. The Cougars are coached by former East Columbus head coach Rocky Lewis.
Turnovers plagued Fairmont’s offense its last time out against Ashley as quarterback Julius Caulder threw four interceptions which led to the Golden Tornadoes putting up 292 yards of total offense as a team with 12 points to show for it.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.