LAURINBURG — Three Southeastern Conference schools are gunning for 5-0 starts, two more are looking to avoid opening the season with five straight losses, and the other will try to avoid an upset against a 3A team.
Pinecrest will be on the road for the fourth time in five weeks when it takes on Southern Lee, Scotland will head to the beach to take on New Hanover and Richmond will continue its difficult nonconference schedule by welcoming Butler to Raider Stadium.
Hoke County hopes a trip to Fayetteville and E.E. Smith will result in its first win of the season. Lumberton will try to use last week’s overtime loss at unbeaten Seventy-First as motivation at home against a tough Hoggard squad. Purnell Swett will play host to Anson and try to improve to 2-3 on the year.
Scotland at New Hanover
Coaches: Richard Bailey, Scotland. Kevin Motsinger, New Hanover.
Records: Scotland 4-0. New Hanover 2-1.
Last game: Scotland rolled past Southern Durham 53-31. New Hanover got past Purnell Swett 35-20.
Tidbits: Scotland has had this game circled since last year’s 21-16 loss at Pate Stadium in Week 2. The 16 points was the lowest offensive output for the Fighting Scots on the season until their season-ending 23-6 loss at New Bern in the playoffs. Quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe continues to show why he was included on the majority of preseason all-state teams, running for 166 yards and a touchdown as well as throwing for another against Southern Durham. New Hanover running back Ramone Simpson had a game to remember last week, rushing for 251 yards and all five of his team’s touchdowns.
Pinecrest at Southern Lee
Coaches: Chris Metzger, Pinecrest. Don Simon, Southern Lee.
Records: Pinecrest 4-0. Southern Lee 1-3.
Last game: Pinecrest blanked Parkland 55-0. Triton turned back Southern Lee 37-21.
Tidbits: Pinecrest had seven players cross the end zone in its shutout win over Parkland. Sophomore quarterback Christian Ledbetter continues to shine for the Patriots, scoring a touchdown for the fourth straight contest. Pinecrest will be gunning for its first 5-0 start since the 2009 season. New Southern Lee coach Don Simon has installed a pass-friendly offense, with Emond Caldwell averaging 30 attempts a game. Caldwell has thrown for 951 yards and eight touchdowns, but also tossed nine interceptions.
Anson at Purnell Swett
Coaches: Luke Hyatt, Anson. Mark Heil, Purnell Swett.
Records: Anson 2-2. Purnell Swett 1-3.
Last game: Chesterfield (S.C.) downed Anson 28-13. New Hanover held off Purnell Swett 35-20.
Tidbits: Jekev Robinson has been Anson’s breakout star offensively, running for 350 yards and seven touchdowns. J’Maine Harris and Scott Kendall have combined for 320 passing yards and five scores. Kendall also has two receptions, both for touchdowns. Purnell Swett’s trademark this season has been its defense, but surrendered 251 yards and five touchdowns last week to New Hanover’s Ramone Simpson. Quarterback Thriston Lowry seems to be settling into his role, passing for one score and running for another in the loss to New Hanover.
Hoggard at Lumberton
Coaches: Scott Braswell, Hoggard. Joe Salas, Lumberton.
Records: Hoggard 3-1. Lumberton 0-4.
Last game: Wake Forest handed Hoggard its first loss of the season, 33-23. Seventy-First edged Lumberton 30-29 in overtime.
Tidbits: Hoggard continues to shuffle quarterbacks Xavier Johnson and Austin Schoenleber in and out of the lineup. The duo has passed for four touchdowns with an interception and Schoenleber has rushed for another three. Running back Kevin Thompson leads the Vikings with 266 yards on the ground and seven scores. Things are beginning to click for Lumberton under new coach Joe Salas. The Pirates extended undefeated Seventy-First to overtime as Josh Sheridan ran for three touchdowns.
Hoke County at E.E. Smith
Coaches: Milton Butts, Hoke. Ernest King, E.E. Smith
Records: Hoke County 0-4. E.E. Smith 3-1.
Last game: South View rallied to beat Hoke 39-28. E.E. Smith fought off Douglas Byrd 44-38.
Tidbits: Hoke led South View 28-18 in the second half before dropping its fourth straight contest to open the season. Despite early season problems scoring offensively, the Bucks have had no problem in their return game. Brandon Smith returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown. E.E. Smith quarterback Harold Herbin passed for three touchdowns in last week’s win over crosstown rival Douglas Byrd.
— 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.