LAURINBURG — Sandhills Athletic Conference football teams returned to the field last Friday after Hurricane Florence kept them from competing for two weeks. Many of the league’s eight teams struggled to get back into a rhythm after the hiatus, but others were able to pick up where they left off before the storm.
Here’s how the SAC teams stack up heading into this week’s slate of games. These rankings are based on a variety of factors including records, streaks, team statistics, injuries, upcoming games and individual performances.
1. Richmond (4-1, 1-0 SAC)
Richmond shut out Pinecrest 31-0 on Friday, 21 days after the Raiders defeated Matthews Butler on the road. Richmond tallied 363 yards on offense and held the Patriots to 193 yards.
Richmond quarterback Caleb Hood threw for 201 yards against Pinecrest, the third time he has eclipsed the 200-yard mark this season.
The Raiders play at home on Friday against Jack Britt.
2. Seventy-First (4-1, 1-0 SAC)
The Falcons defeated Hoke 35-0 on Friday. They are traveling to Lumberton on Friday to play a team that is struggling under first-year head coach Kelly Williamson.
The Falcons’ only hiccup so far this season was a 38-32 loss at Southern Durham. With quarterback Kyler Davis (819 passing yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions) leading the offense, Seventy-First has another opportunity to solidify its spot near the top of the conference in a favorable matchup against the Pirates.
3. Scotland (2-2, 1-0 SAC)
After a rough start to the season that included losses to Matthews Butler and Marlboro County, Scotland took a step in the right direction with a 34-11 win over Purnell Swett last Friday.
As of Wednesday, starting running back Syheam “Smiley” McQueen is expected to return when the Fighting Scots play at Hoke this week. McQueen missed the last two games while recovering from a sprained MCL.
Also returning for the Scots is senior defensive back Tyshoun Thomas, who finished serving a two-game suspension that resulted from an altercation against Durham Hillside earlier this season.
The Scots are on the road against Hoke on Friday.
4. Pinecrest (3-2, 0-1 SAC)
The Patriots were shut out for the second time this season when they hosted Richmond on Friday. They have a shot at redemption this week against Purnell Swett.
The Patriots logged 127 yards rushing against the Raiders, including 65 yards from Zaythan Hill, but they couldn’t find the endzone.
Purnell Swett is recovering after a lackluster performance against Scotland last week. After facing the Rams, Pinecrest plays at Lumberton on Oct. 12.
5. Jack Britt (2-3, 1-0 SAC)
After starting the season with three consecutive losses, the Buccaneers got their second win in a row in dramatic fashion. Jack Britt defeated Lumberton 15-14 in four overtimes last week.
Jack Britt has a tough matchup on the road at Richmond on Friday before hosting Purnell Swett the week after.
6. Purnell Swett (2-2, 0-1 SAC)
The Rams host Pinecrest this week after a 34-11 loss at Scotland on Friday. A return home might be what the Rams’ offense needs after being held in check by the Scots’ defense.
Star receiver Chandler Brayboy logged just 30 yards on four catches against the Scots. One of those catches, a 13-yard pass from Micah Carter, resulted in Purnell Swett’s only touchdown of the night.
The Rams will need Brayboy to get comfortable against Pinecrest’s defense as they try to get back into the win column on Friday.
7. Lumberton (1-4, 0-1 SAC)
Close losses are becoming a common theme for the Pirates this season — three of their four losses have been by four points or less — and that trend continued last week as Lumberton lost to Jack Britt 15-14 in four overtimes.
It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Pirates considering how much talent the team has on its roster. Quarterback Braylan Grice and receiver Kwashek Breeden are leading the Pirates into a tough three-game stretch that includes matchups against Seventy-First, Pinecrest and Richmond.
8. Hoke (0-5, 0-1 SAC)
The Bucks are facing an uphill climb as they look for their first win of the season. They face Scotland on Friday before playing against Richmond on Oct. 12.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.