Sandhills Athletic Conference power rankings

By: By Amber Hatten -

LAURINBURG — The Sandhills Athletic Conference standings remain unchanged as the top teams continued to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Seventy-First rebounded from its first conference loss to Scotland with a dominant performance against Purnell Swett.

Jack Britt’s win streak increased to four games as they picked up a 28-point win over Hoke. The win keeps the Buccaneers just ahead of Richmond in the rankings this week at No. 3.

The rankings could look very different next week, depending on how several key games pan out — Jack Britt travels to Pinecrest while Richmond hosts Seventy-First. If the Falcons lose to the Raiders and the Buccaneers upend the Patriots then Jack Britt and Richmond enter Week 12 in a tie for second.

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 10.

1. Scotland (7-1, 5-0)

Despite only having the ball for 11:27 of Friday’s game, the Scots made their possessions against Pinecrest count scoring seven touchdowns to outlast the Patriots, 47-28.

The Scots leaned on the passing game, looking to quarterback Warren Bell and slot receiver Khalil Smith. The duo had two touchdowns in the first quarter on 17 and 52-yard pass receptions. Those were followed by four rushing touchdowns by running back Zamir White.

For the season, the Scots have amassed 3,093 rushing and 642 passing yards while scoring a combined 50 touchdowns.

Next up for Scotland: a road game against Lumberton.

2. Seventy-First (7-2, 4-1)

An explosive second half lifted the Falcons to a 41-12 win over Purnell Swett on Friday. Seventy-First outscored the Rams, 28-6 in the third and fourth quarters.

Falcons quarterback Kyler Davis had minimal passing yards with seven completions for 68 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The Falcons run game was alive and well with four players scoring at least one touchdown. Devante Wedlock led Seventy-First’s rushing attack with three carries for seven yards for two touchdowns.

Fabion Jones led the Falcons in rushing yards with 14 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown.

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

3. Jack Britt (6-3, 4-1)

The Buccaneers got off to a slow start against Hoke, as both teams went scoreless in the first quarter. Jack Britt took a one-touchdown lead, 14-6 over the Bucks.

Jack Britt took that slim lead into the half, but broke the game open in the second half with a 42-yard interception for a touchdown by corner back Jaleel Johnson. The Buccaneers second interception came from strong safety Jamarkis Leavell which set up another Jack Britt touchdown.

The Buccaneers followed up their 23-point third quarter with a field goal in the fourth to secure a 40-12 victory.

Jack Britt remains in contention for the SAC-8 title — if they can top Pinecrest this week and if Seventy-First loses to Richmond. That would bump the Buccaneers into second place behind undefeated Scotland — if the Scots can sink Lumberton.

Next up for Jack Britt: a road game against Pinecrest.

4. Richmond (6-3, 4-1)

The Raiders run game continued to thrive against Lumberton as four different Richmond players scored at least one touchdown. Freshman quarterback Caleb Hood led the charge with six carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

Hood also had seven passes for 175 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Hood’s 45-yard touchdown pass was brought in by senior wide receiver Kaleb Douglas — his only catch of the game.

The Raiders have a crucial game this week against Seventy-First if they want to remain in the SAC-8 title hunt. A loss to the Falcons would knock Richmond out of contention with two conference losses — unless Jack Britt loses to Pinecrest.

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

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

Pinecrest milked the clock and dominated time of possession on Friday against the Fighting Scots holding the ball for 48:28 compared to Scotland’s 11:27.

The Patriots totaled 326 yards of offense — 97 in the air and 229 on the ground — but couldn’t come back from an early 28-0 deficit. Zaythan Hill led the Pinecrest rushing attack with 28 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns, as he averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

Next up for Pinecrest: a home game against Jack Britt.

6. Lumberton (2-7, 1-4)

The Pirates came out strong in the first quarter against Richmond, matching the Raiders two touchdowns. A scoreless second quarter set Lumberton back as Richmond continued to find the end zone.

Down two touchdowns, the Pirates only managed to score six points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth. The Raiders outscored the Pirates, 21-13 in the second half to secure the 29-2 win.

Lumberton quarterback Braylan Grice has 13 completions for 267 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, Grice had 11 carries for 72 yards.

Junior Kwashek Breeden led the Pirates receiving corps with four catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.

Next up for Lumberton: a home game against Scotland.

7. Purnell Swett (3-6, 0-5)

The struggle continues for Purnell Swett losing its sixth game in a row. Quarterback Luke Oxendine rushed for both of the Rams touchdowns on three carries for one yard. Oxendine didn’t find the end zone in the passing game on his 20 attempts, but did manage to throw an interception.

Other than Oxendine’s one rushing yard, two of Purnell’s backs — Chandler Brayboy and Cameron Oxendine finished the game with negative yardage.

Looking ahead to this week, one of the SAC-8s win-less programs — Purnell Swett and Hoke — will earn their first conference victory as the Rams travel to Raeford to take on the Bucks.

Next up for Purnell Swett: an away game against Hoke.

8. Hoke (0-9, 0-5)

The Bucks held Jack Britt scoreless in the first quarter and to just a one-touchdown lead into halftime. Hoke trailed 14-6 headed into the third quarter. An interception by Jack Britt corner back Jaleel Johnson broke the game open as the Buccaneers outscored Hoke 23-6 in the third quarter.

Hoke will have a chance to end their losing streak this week as they take on the conference’s other win-less team — Purnell Swett.

Next up for Hoke: a home game against Purnell Swett.

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

By Amber Hatten