Coaching change trumps marquee matchup in SEC
Winless Lumberton fires Salas, promotes Cook
By Shawn Stinson
It is hard for a matchup between two teams with a combined 1-13 record to overshadow a marquee contest with the conference’s two unbeaten teams, but that’s what happened this week.
The Robesonian reported Thursday morning that Lumberton had fired first-year coach Joe Salas. The Pirates are 0-7 overall and 0-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Lumberton athletic director Mackie Register said defensive coordinator Ron Cook would serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
While Cook will be trying to lead Lumberton to its first victory, Pinecrest will travel to Scotland in a clash of the undefeated and Purnell Swett will head to Raider Stadium to battle Richmond.
The only guarantee this week is Pinecrest or Scotland will be saddled with one loss and Hoke or Lumberton will pick up its first conference win.
Pinecrest at Scotland
Coaches: Chris Metzger, Pinecrest. Richard Bailey, Scotland.
Records: Pinecrest 7-0, 1-0. Scotland 7-0, 1-0.
Last game: Pinecrest stormed past Lumberton 52-28. Scotland roared out early and cruised to a 48-6 win over Purnell Swett.
Tidbits: Pinecrest is 7-0 for the first time since 1982. The Patriots have scored at least 50 points in their last four contests and are averaging a conference leading 47.9 points a game. Pinecrest quarterback Christian Ledbetter continues to led the way, accounting for four touchdowns (two rushing, two passing) in the win over Lumberton. Scotland has the top scoring defense in the SEC, surrendering 15.4 points a game, and third best offense, scoring 41.7 points per contest. Scotland quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe has accounted for 21 touchdowns this season (11 rushing, 10 passing).
Lumberton at Hoke County
Coaches: Ron Cook (interim), Lumberton. Milton Butts, Hoke.
Records: Lumberton 0-7, 0-1. Hoke 1-6, 0-1.
Last game: Pinecrest rolled past Lumberton 52-28. Richmond used a late defensive stop to down Hoke 35-23.
Tidbits: The Ron Cook era begins in Lumberton after the administration fired Joe Salas Thursday. Salas attempted to install the “Air Raid” offense, but was last in the league in scoring, 18.4 points a game. The defense wasn’t much better as the Pirates allowed a SEC-high 38.9 points per contest. Hoke was 19 yards away from scoring the go-ahead touchdown against Richmond with just over 3 minutes left in the game. The Bucks were unable to capitalize but should have some momentum into their game with the Pirates.
— 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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