Sandhills Athletic Conference power rankings

By: By Amber Hatten -

LAURINBURG — The Sandhills Athletic Conference standings are proving to be a roller coast ride each week.

Despite an 18-point win over Purnell Swett in Southern Pines, Pinecrest falls to No. 5 in the rankings at 1-2. Jack Britt moved up two places after a convincing 41-20 win over Richmond.

The Raiders hold steady at No. 3 despite the loss to Jack Britt but a loss this week to Hoke could drastically change their standing. The SAC-8’s two undefeated teams remain a top the standings with Scotland having the slight edge over Seventy-First because of the strength of their non-conference schedule and their dominating wins in the first three weeks of SAC-8 play.

As always, if you don’t like where I slotted your team, we can have a discussion about it via phone, e-mail, or social media — but please, leave the pitchforks at home.

Without further adieu, here are my rankings entering Week 9.

1. Scotland (5-1, 3-0)

It was no surprise the Scots walked off the field last week with a 49-point win over Hoke. Scotland, minus Shyeam “Smiley” McQueen, went to the passing game to keep their remaining running backs Zamir White and Joseph McKoy from taking unnecessary hits.

Scots quarterback Warren Bell has five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns for a 158 quarterback rating. Bell also had eight carries for 110 yards and a touchdown.

The Scots biggest conference test thus far comes to Pate Stadium on Friday — Seventy-First. The two teams are remarkably similar in their offensive and defensive schemes. Whichever team blinks first will likely be the loser.

Next up for Scotland: a home game against Seventy-First.

2. Seventy-First (6-1, 3-0)

The Falcons easily clawed their way past the Pirates with a 36-point victory. Quarterback Kyler Davis had nine passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns. The Falcons field general also had four carries for 110 yards and another touchdown.

Seventy-First was more balanced offensively against Lumberton with 223 passing yards and 239 rushing yards. Davis accounted for almost half the Falcons yardage. Senior Fabion Jones had 12 carries for 66 yards but was held scoreless.

The Falcons defense continued to be disruptive with one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles.

Next up for Seventy-First: a road game against Scotland.

3. Richmond (4-3, 2-1)

The Raiders started the SAC-8 portion of the season strong with back-to-back wins over Purnell Swett and Pinecrest. Then Richmond went to the Boneyard and lost to the Buccaneers by 21 points, 41-20 on Friday.

Richmond’s defense struggled to stop Jack Britt quarterback Brennan Shortridge and tailback Glenn Young that coupled with the offense’s inability to get into the end zone led to the Raiders first conference loss.

Richmond has a very winnable bounce back game this week in Rockingham against Hoke.

Next up for Richmond: a home game against Hoke.

4. Jack Britt (4-3, 2-1)

After a Week 1 loss to Scotland, the Buccaneers have bounced back with back-to-back wins over Lumberton and Richmond.

Last week’s 21-point win over the Raiders put Jack Britt back on the radar for many people as the dark horse team of the SAC-8.

Jack Brit scored 21 unanswered points in the first two quarters with a short run by Glenn Young followed by a 78-yard bomb from quarterback Brennan Shortridge to Barry Elliott and a 26-yard touchdown pass to Malik Graddy before the Raiders even got close the end zone.

The Buccaneers could potentially move to 3-1 if their defense can contain Purnell Swett in the passing game.

Next up for Jack Britt: a road game against Purnell Swett.

5. Pinecrest (4-3, 1-2)

After two straight weeks of losses, Pinecrest picked up its first conference win with an 18-point victory over a struggling Purnell Swett. The Patriots managed 301 yards of total offense as quarterback Greg Vansteen had nine passes for 106 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Pinecrest could move to .500 this week with a winnable home game against Lumberton.

Next up for Pinecrest: a home game against Lumberton.

6. Lumberton (2-5, 1-2)

The Pirates game against Seventy-First was very one sided as the Falcons soared to a 36-point victory. Lumberton’s offense sputtered as quarterback Braylan Grice had 14 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns — the Pirates only two scores of the game.

Grice’s touchdown passes were caught by Kwashek Breeden and Tyson Alford who combined for nine catches for 96 yards.

The road for the Pirates doesn’t get any easier as they try to break .500 in Southern Pines against the Patriots.

Next up for Lumberton: a road game against Pinecrest.

7. Purnell Swett (3-4, 0-3)

The search for a conference win continues for Purnell Swett. The Rams haven’t won a game in since Week 3 against Douglas Byrd.

Rams quarterback Luke Oxendine had 20 passes for 265 yards for just two touchdowns and two interceptions. Oxendine’s favorite targets, Chandler Brayboy and Cyran Dial were the recipients of the Rams two touchdown passes. Purnell Swett’s other touchdown came on the ground courtesy of Cameron Oxendine.

Next up for Purnell Swett: a home game against Jack Britt.

8. Hoke (0-7, 0-3)

The blow-out losses continued for Hoke on Friday as they fell to Scotland, 61-12. The Bucs found the end zone twice against Scotland with a rushing touchdown from quarterback Kevin Thorpe and a receiving touchdown by Andre Pegues.

The Bucks will do their best to pick up their first win of the season in Rockingham on Friday against a struggling Richmond team.

Next up for Hoke: a road game against Richmond.

Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.

By Amber Hatten