Pinecrest Hosts St. Pauls
The undefeated Pinecrest football team (5-0) entertains St. Pauls tonight, seeking its 16th non-conference victory in a row.
Coach Chris Metzger’s squad is heavily favored to keep the streak going against the Bulldogs (1-4). The opening kickoff on Youth Night at the John Williams Athletic Complex is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. All youth wearing a middle school or youth team jersey will receive a free admission.
The five–game Southeastern Conference schedule begins on Oct. 8 with a homecoming night contest against Lumberton.
Including St. Pauls, Pinecrest’s six non-conference opponents have a combined record of 5-24 through the first five weeks of the season. The Patriots have outscored the first five 186-31.
As a result of an agreement reached Wednesday afternoon between athletic directors Ernie Purnsley of Pinecrest and Reggie Fields of Jack Britt, next year’s non-league schedule has already been substantially upgraded.
The Patriots will meet the 2008 and 2009 4AA state runner-up Buccaneers in the 2011 season opener. Still undecided is whether it will be a home or away date for the Patriots.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press 4A poll, the Buccaneers lost to Richmond Senior in the 2008 title game before falling to Matthews Butler last year.
A win over the Fayetteville team would be a first for the Patriots. The teams met each other yearly as members of the Mid-Southeastern Conference from 2001 until conference realignment in 2009. The Buccaneers won each time, handing the Patriots a 54-0 loss in their last meeting in 2008.
The complete 2011 schedule is expected to be wrapped up within a couple of weeks. Patriot head coach Chris Metzger indicated this week that he is hoping to line up two nationally known teams each year, a qualification that Jack Britt clearly meets.
Contact has also been made with Butler, currently ranked No. 1, about a 2011 game.
Scales Joins Pats’ Injury List
The Patriot camp could only hold its breath after a knee injury sent starting quarterback Travis Scales to the sidelines late in the first quarter of last week’s game at Western Harnett.
The junior will have to undergo surgery for a torn meniscus and is out for an indefinite period of time. Senior Kyle Ocheltree took his place and led a Patriot offense that performed well in the second half of the 31-0 victory.
Senior safety Hunter Ocheltree is still weeks away from returning from a hand injury that required surgery.
Starting running back Raphael Alston (knee), who has five touchdowns this season, including three on kickoff returns, is expected to return for the Lumberton game after a two game absence.
On the good news side, junior offensive lineman Jerod McKenzie (knee) is expected to play tonight after missing the last four games.
NFL Leg, Big League Arm
Excluding the recovery of an onside kick, Western Harnett’s average field position on 10 offensive possessions last Friday was its own 19-yard line.
Patriot kicker Dillon Maples played a major role in that debacle for the Eagles. He put four kickoffs in or beyond the endzone for touchbacks. One of his punts was fumbled and recovered by the Patriots at the Eagle 6-yard line and another of 61 yards set them back on their 13. He kicked one field goal and was short and wide on another attempt from 57 yards that drew a big buzz from the crowd.
Maples is verbally committed to play football and baseball at UNC in 2011. A U.S. National team player in baseball this summer, he is a potential high pick in the June 2011 Major League draft.
Limited to kicking duties this season, Metzger talked about one of Maples’ not-so-well-known responsibilities with the team.
“He’s our scout team quarterback,” the coach said, referring to the player that runs the offense of the opponent team in practice. “We kid him because he can throw a football 60 yards on a line without even trying.
“There is no doubt Dillon’s got an NFL leg. The thing is he’s an even better teammate and person. He’s taken a real leadership role.”
Danger Lurks Ahead
There is no sugarcoating the upcoming conference schedule.
Lumberton is 5-0 while averaging 50.2 points per game. Scotland, 3-2, is next, with losses to Jack Britt and Marlboro County.
No. 4 Richmond Senior, 4-1 (lost to Butler); Purnell Swett, 4-1; and Hoke County, 2-3, coming off two wins in a row, complete the schedule.
“Well, we don’t look ahead,” Metzger said. “But at 6 a.m. Saturday morning we will. We know what’s coming.”
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org. com.
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