This week, the only Friday Night Lights in Robeson County will be the lightning flashing from the sky as Hurricane Ian drenches the entire Southeast.
But there will still be football, just one day early.
All four of the Week 7 games featuring Robeson County schools will be played Thursday, with Red Springs at Midway and Fairmont at Clinton kicking off at 7 p.m. and South View at Lumberton and Jack Britt at Purnell Swett slated for 7:30 p.m.
Here is a guess on how those games will turn out:
Last week: 4-0
Jack Britt at Purnell Swett
Purnell Swett has opened conference play with consecutive losses, while Jack Britt has had lopsided wins in its first two United-8 Conference games. That’s a little misleading, however, as the Buccaneers have played two teams with one combined win between them, while Purnell Swett faced two of the potential top three in the league.
Jack Britt, who should be a middle-of-the-pack team in the United-8, provides the Rams a chance for a competitive game, and possibly a win to get back on track after three straight losses.
This should be good matchup, and could come down to just a few plays. When those few plays are made, sometimes it’s best to go with the team which has the best player on the field — and Jack Britt’s do-it-all athlete Sincere Baines fits that description.
Jack Britt 32, Purnell Swett 21
South View at Lumberton
South View is coming off of its first win last week against Douglas Byrd, which has won two games the last three seasons. The Tigers beat the Eagles 62-0.
The Tigers’ record is slightly misleading, as they have two close losses to Hoke County and Richmond which could have gone the other way if just a few plays had a different outcome.
Lumberton hasn’t scored since the fourth quarter of its season opener against Fairmont, as the improvement that coach Adam Deese has sought this season still hasn’t shown up in the results.
South View 48, Lumberton 14
Fairmont at Clinton
The Dark Horses have perennially been one of the best teams in the region, giving Fairmont a stern challenge on Thursday.
Clinton has had its way with opponents this season, with 68-0 and 55-7 wins to start conference play. The Dark Horses’ only loss came at Wallace-Rose Hill, the reigning 2A East Region champions.
Clinton throws about 10 passes a game, but its strength comes on the ground; several backs have significant carries, and seven of them have found the end zone this season, making them that much harder to stop.
Fairmont, meanwhile, has struggled offensively throughout the season, and those struggles are only arguably getting worse. Scoring enough to keep up with Clinton’s offense would seem to be a tall task.
Clinton 42, Fairmont 8
Red Springs at Midway
Red Springs honestly performed better last week than I expected they might, despite the score in a 42-0 loss to St. Pauls. The game was 21-0 at halftime, and over the last 20 minutes of the first half the Red Devils were only outscored 7-0.
As they travel to Midway this week, they’ll face a Raiders team that has won four straight games after dropping its first two. The preseason expectation was that the Raiders would take a step back after quarterback Wyatt Holland’s graduation, but that hasn’t happened. Trey Gregory has been a key part of this, in both the passing and rushing games, and the defense has gotten progressively stronger.
This game might be competitive for a while, but as they did last week against Fairmont, expect Midway to slowly pull away for the victory.
Midway 30, Red Springs 8
Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.