It was a bad overall week for Robeson County’s high school football teams, but Fairmont and St. Pauls continued to shine as the hottest teams in the county, keeping pace in the quest for a conference championship.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 3-0 TRC) boast the best record in the county as winners of four straight games, with their most recent victory coming on Thursday in a 55-0 rout of East Columbus. The Golden Tornadoes, also winners of four straight, are over .500 for the first time this season after a 51-7 win over West Columbus. Both teams sit in a three-way tie with South Columbus atop the Three Rivers Conference standings.
While Fairmont and St. Pauls enjoyed victories, Red Springs was plagued by late turnovers in a 23-22 loss to Whiteville. Lumberton, Purnell Swett and South Robeson were on the wrong end of blowouts. Opening Southeastern Conference play, the Pirates lost 48-14 at Pinecrest, dropping their fifth straight game. The Rams lost 56-0 at Scotland, dropping below the .500 mark for the first time since their season opener. The Mustangs fell to 0-7, falling 46-0 at South Columbus.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
St. Pauls: Yes, Fairmont put up a 50-piece, but the Bulldogs put up 55 and earned a shutout victory in the process. St. Pauls is rolling with the best defense in the county and arguably the best rushing attack. Ernest King’s squad continues to impress in his first year at the helm, but we’ll find out just how good the Bulldogs are over three of the final four games as they travel to Whiteville before hosting South Columbus, ending with Fairmont in the regular season finale.
Chris Graham, RB, St. Pauls: The senior running back continued his stellar season with 210 yards on 19 carries in the win over East Columbus, scoring a trio of touchdowns. It was the first 200-yard rushing performance for a county running back this season and the fourth 100-yard game for Graham. With a mix of power and speed, it seems Graham is only getting stronger as the season gets longer.
Julius Caulder, QB, Fairmont: It only took Caulder one half of football to put in full-game numbers as four of the senior’s five passes resulted in touchdowns. He finished 5 of 5 for 227 yards, rushed twice for 13 yards and scored a 2-point conversion for the Tornadoes. A solid finish could result in a third straight County Heisman for Fairmont’s signal-caller.
OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES
Noah Wheeler, QB, St. Pauls — Accounted for four touchdowns, finishing with three on the ground and one through the air. Totaled 150 yards of offense.
Jarique Moore, WR, Fairmont — Hauled in three catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Halijah McLean, RB, Fairmont — Finished with 84 yards on seven carries and a pair of scores.
Dakota Oxendine, WR, St. Pauls — Finished with five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Mickey Bell, LB, Red Springs — Returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown and had two tackles for loss.
Montrez Howell, RB, Lumberton — Rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Will Sampson, LB, Fairmont — Had an interception return for a touchdown.
Dayshawn Ray, DL, St. Pauls — Tallied four tackles, including a pair of sacks.
Ernest “Tre” King III, DL, St. Pauls — Tallied four tackles.