Four SEC teams open the season at home
by By Shawn Stinson
ROCKINGHAM — Entering the first Friday night of football across the state, fans have optimism that this could be their team’s year.
All six Southeastern Conference schools will hit the field tonight, four will do it at home, while the other two will try to kick their season off with a win on the road.
Preseason favorite Scotland will welcome South View to Pate Stadium, Richmond takes on Rocky River in Raider Stadium, Lumberton will begin the Joe Salas era at Tunney Brooks Stadium against Douglas Byrd and Purnell Swett will battle Pine Forest at Big “Mo” Stadium in Pembroke. Hoke County will travel to Ashley and Pinecrest will visit Overhills.
South View at Scotland
Coaches: Randy Ledford, South View. Richard Bailey, Scotland.
Records: South View 3-8 in 2012, Scotland 12-2 in 2012.
Tidbits: South View will be looking to rebound from three consecutive eight-loss seasons and hasn’t posted a winning record since finishing 9-5 in 2008. If the Tigers will turn things around this year, they will have to rely on three-year Troy Cain. Scotland is hoping to repeat its success over the last two seasons when it won the 4A state championship in 2011 in Chip Williams’ last campaign and advanced to the East Region last year in Richard Bailey’s first year. The Fighting Scots will feature the SEC’s co-offensive player of the year in Jaylend Ratliffe, but have only seven returning starters.
Douglas Byrd at Lumberton
Coaches: Russell Stone, Douglas Byrd. Joe Salas, Lumberton.
Records: Douglas Byrd 8-4 in 2012, Lumberton 5-6 in 2012.
Tidbits: Douglas Byrd is expected to be one of the top teams in the 3A level this fall and will be a tough challenge for any team in any classification. The Eagles’ offense will be led by quarterback Elijah Bulger a first-year starter. After years of running the Wing-T under former coach Mike Brill, Lumberton will make the switch to the Air Raid under Salas. The Pirates may struggle to find a rhythm against a stout Eagles defense, especially in their first game.
Pine Forest at Purnell Swett
Coaches: Bill Sochovka, Pine Forest. Mark Heil, Purnell Swett.
Records: Pine Forest 7-5 in 2012, Purnell Swett 2-8 in 2012.
Tidbits: Pine Forest features two of the top defensive linemen in the region in tackle Lamont Gaillard and end Harold Landry. Both have received several scholarship offers from BCS schools with Gaillard verbally committing to Georgia and Landry announcing he would attend Boston College. Heil has been preaching to his team during the season to return to playing “Ram football” and he hopes it begins tonight. But the Purnell Swett offensive line will have its hands full trying to contain Gaillard and Landry.
Hoke County at Ashley
Coaches: Milton Butts, Hoke County. Tom Eanes, Ashley.
Records: Hoke County 10-3 in 2012, Ashley 2-8 in 2012.
Tidbits: Hoke County will have to find a way to replace the offensive contributions of Detrez Newsome. The running back was the SEC co-offensive player of the year last season and rushed for over 2,000 yards as a junior and senior. Quarterback Geoffrey Thompson will look to lead the Bucks’ offense with his legs as well as his arm. Experts believe Hoke’s defense will be very athletic and fly to the ball. Ashley is coming off its second consecutive 2-8 season and hasn’t posted a winning record since 2004, when the Screaming Eagles were 8-5.
Pinecrest at Overhills
Coaches: Chris Metzger, Pinecrest. Rodney Barr, Overhills.
Records: Pinecrest 5-7 in 2012. Overhills 7-5 in 2012.
Tidbits: Pinecrest, like Hoke County, will be looking to fill the void left by the graduation of its top offensive player from a year ago, Dwayne Simpson. Metzger believes it will take two or three players to replace Simpson’s ability out of the Veer offense. The Patriots won last year’s matchup 21-7. Barr enters his first year as the head man with Overhills. He spent last season as an assistant with South Robeson after serving as the defensive coordinator at Wilson High in Florence, S.C.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Local Gas Prices