LAURINBURG — The high school football season is almost four weeks old, which means the Sandhills Athletic Conference teams are getting closer to facing off against each other.
Some teams in the league are at risk of ending nonconference play without a win, and others have already established themselves as contenders early in the season.
Here’s how the SAC teams stack up heading into week four of the season. These rankings are based on a variety of factors including records, streaks, team statistics, injuries, upcoming games and individual performances.
1. Seventy-First (3-0) Last week: No change
After the Falcons jumped out to a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter against E.E. Smith last week, Seventy-First scored 33 unanswered points over the next two quarters on the way to a 47-13 victory. Quarterback Kyler Davis threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns for the Falcons, and Camari Williams was the Falcons’ top receiver with 108 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.
The undefeated Falcons are on the road this week against Southern Durham, a team that lost its last two games after starting the season with a 27-24 win at home over A.C. Reynolds.
2. Richmond (2-1) Last week: No change
The Raiders recovered from their first loss of the season by shutting out Pine Forest 28-0 at home last week. Richmond running back Jaheim Covington ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns against the Trojans.
Richmond is traveling to Charlotte this week to take on one of the state’s best teams in Matthews Butler. The Bulldogs are coming off a bye week after starting the season with a 47-19 win over Scotland and a 36-28 loss against Mallard Creek.
3. Purnell Swett (2-1) Last week: 4
The Rams moved up one spot in the rankings after a 21-13 win over Douglas Byrd last week. Receiver Chandler Brayboy scored all three of Purnell Swett’s touchdowns, taking the reigns of the offense for the second week in a row after being held in check during the team’s season-opener against Pine Forest.
Purnell Swett now has a bye week before entering a tough stretch that includes games against Hoggard, Richmond, Scotland and Pinecrest.
4. Pinecrest (2-1) Last week: 3
Eight points was all Durham Hillside needed to earn a shutout victory over the Patriots last week. It was the first setback of the year for Pinecrest after the Patriots started 2-0 with wins over Wilmington Laney and Gray’s Creek.
The Patriots have a chance to right the ship as they take on Providence at home. Providence is coming off a pair of lopsided losses — 48-10 at Hough and 55-14 against Myers Park — after defeating East Mecklenburg 45-13 to start the season.
5. Scotland (1-2) Last week: 5
The Fighting Scots are entering their bye week after a turbulent start to the season. The injury-ridden Scots lost at home to Marlboro County last week after getting their first win of the season against Hillside.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Barfield, who has been competing with classmate Mandrell Johnson for playing time under center, started for the Scots against Hillside and Marlboro County. How head coach Richard Bailey and the Scotland coaching staff handle the team’s fluid quarterback situation remains to be seen as they prepare to take on West Mecklenburg next week.
6. Jack Britt (0-3) Last week: 6
A three-point loss to Gray’s Greek last week kept the Buccaneers out of the win column. The team is still waiting for its experience to pay off in the form of a victory as it heads to Southern Lee this week.
Quarterback Brennan Shortridge has thrown for 272 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions for the Buccaneers this season.
7. Lumberton (0-3) Last week: 7
The Pirates lost to South View by four points last week after a one-point loss to Westover the week before. Kelly Williamson has yet to log a victory in his first season as Lumberton’s head coach, and his next shot at doing so comes this week against a West Brunswick team that has lost two games in a row.
8. Hoke (0-3) Last week: 8
Hoke has not won a football game since the Bucks defeated Purnell Swett in October 2016. After an 18-10 loss against Westover last week, the Bucks are traveling to take on undefeated Lee County on Friday.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.