SEC schools struggle out of the gate
by By Shawn Stinson
ROCKINGHAM — It was a rough opening weekend for the Southeastern Conference.
The league went 3-3 with Pinecrest, Richmond Senior and Scotland picking up victories. The Patriots rolled past Overhills, the Raiders found smooth sailing against Rocky River and the Fighting Scots blasted South View.
On the other end of the spectrum were Hoke County, Lumberton and Purnell Swett. The Bucks were upended at Ashley, the Pirates were out-classed by Douglas Byrd and Pine Forest edged the Rams.
All six SEC teams will return to action Friday night with five hitting the road. Richmond will travel to Myrtle Beach to take on the Seahawks in the opening game of the Derrick Law Firm Carolinas Kickoff Clash presented by Sports Radio 100.3 The Team. Pinecrest will visit Douglas Byrd. Purnell Swett will stay in Robeson County to play at Red Springs. Hoke County will go west to face off with Sun Valley in Indian Trail. Lumberton will head back to Fayetteville again, this time to face Pine Forest. Scotland, the only SEC squad with a home game, will welcome Jack Britt to Pate Stadium.
Pinecrest 35, Overhills 14
SPRING LAKE — After going 3-and-out on its first possession, Pinecrest scored on its next four en route to a 35-14 victory over Overhills.
The Patriots finished the contest with 331 yards on the ground and scored all five of their touchdowns from the rushing attack. Christian Ledbetter led the team with 97 yards on 19 attempts with a touchdown. Josh McCoy added 87 yards on 13 carries.
The Jaguars spoiled the shutout by scoring two touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the contest.
“Our first-team defense played lights out,” Pinecrest coach Chris Metzger said to The Pilot. “We do have some things to polish up.”
Scotland 41, South View 9
LAURINBURG — Scotland didn't get off to a great start to the new season, losing two fumbles in the first quarter but quickly rebounded.
Led by quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe, Scotland rolled to a 41-9 win against South View.
Ratliffe, last season's SEC co-offensive player of the year, finished the game with 221 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. Ratliffe rushed for 107 yards and two scores, while competing 4 of 12 passes for another 114 yards and two touchdowns.
“Early it was ugly but I'm proud of the kids and the way we regrouped,” Scotland coach Richard Bailey said to the Laurinburg Exchange.
Ashley 14, Hoke County 7
WILMINGTON — Turnovers doomed Hoke County in its season opener with Ashley.
The Bucks fumbled the ball eight times, losing five and had an interception in a 14-7 loss to the Screaming Eagles. The contest was completed Saturday afternoon after lightning forced officials to postpone the game in the second quarter Friday night.
Geoffrey Thompson, who scored the Bucks' lone touchdown, rushed for a team-high 71 yards for Hoke in the loss. He also fumbled four times.
Hoke had a chance to tie the game after forcing Ashley to punt, but turned the ball over on downs near midfield with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
Pine Forest 14, Purnell Swett 6
PEMBROKE — Points were at a premium in the Pine Forest-Purnell Swett contest.
The teams were locked in a scoreless battle until the Trojans' Myron Flemming hooked up with Avery Redden for a 13-yard pass for the game's first points in the third quarter.
Redden's touchdown and the extra-point off the foot of Patrick Woods proved to be the difference in Pine Forest's 14-6 win.
The Rams trimmed the deficit to one on Kaley Tyner's 17-yard catch from Josh Brooks, but the two-point conversion failed.
Flemming tacked on a 35-yard run later in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Douglas Byrd 44, Lumberton 14
FAYETTEVILLE — The Joe Salas era didn't get off to a very good start.
Alonzo Hurtado rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries to lead Douglas Byrd to a 44-14 victory over Lumberton.
The Pirates scored the game's first touchdown on their second play from scrimmage as Bryan Carpenter reeled in a Will Everette pass on a 77-yard bomb.
After that, it was all Eagles despite a 105-minute weather delay.
“In those situations, one team's going to come out with a huge advantage and one's going to come out flat,” Salas said. “And it's usually going to be the mature team taking advantage of that. What that showed was, we're not mature yet.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.
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