ST. PAULS – One of the things that many soccer coaches say is that they expect their team to show the greatest improvement from the first to the second game.

As St. Pauls prepares to host Whiteville, Bulldogs trainer Mike Setzer knows improvement will be needed if a tough opponent hits town at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Whiteville are such a tough opponent,” said Setzer. “We haven’t been successful with them in the last couple of years so it will be a game that we want to go for some improvements because we know that if we don’t make the improvements, we won’t win this game. ”

Whiteville (2-1, 2-1 Three Rivers Conference) held Red Springs to six points last week and St. Pauls to six points last season when they won 28-6 at Legion Stadium, a game that was goalless at halftime was.

An important matchup on Saturday will be between the Wolfpack defense and the St. Pauls offensive, especially the running game. The Bulldogs rushed 316 yards in last week’s win over East Bladen. KeMarion Baldwin rushed for 135 yards and four touchdowns and Demonte Williams for 170 yards and one score.

“The biggest thing is that we can make sure that we are who we normally are,” said Setzer. “It’s very important in this ball game because such a defense can get you out of your comfort zone.”

St. Pauls (1-0, 1-0 TRC), who didn’t play until Week 4 due to COVID-19 logs, beat East Bladen 36-22 with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter after the Eagles drew from behind were the game. Setzer attributed well-known games to both offensive coordinator Eric Murphy and defensive coordinator Dominique Bridges in his first game in the role.

The defense in particular, which replaced several key players from last year, has shown how good it can be. You will now meet a Whiteville team known for their athleticism in the skill positions. These include the return run from Shaheem Shipman, who has completed 398 yards and one touchdown this season, and Brandon Tyson, who has 120 yards and six touchdowns on just 13 carries.

“I’ve learned that our defense still has a good baseline and camaraderie,” said Setzer. “We felt that they had taken on the task. We had a few key series last week that would make or break us, so we learned last week that some of the younger guys we expected to slip into these roles grew up in last week. “

In a physical game, Setzer says, one key will be which team is able to take control of this physicality.

“Which team is able to get its way will be, in my opinion, the X-factor that is able to get its identity through,” said Setzer. “Someone will get out of the game and do something they didn’t want to do. If we can stick to what we want to do, we’ll win the ball game. If we let them dictate how we play the game, we will not succeed. “

Whiteville has won eight games in a row; The last victory of St. Pauls against the wolf pack was in 2003.

Red Springs at East Bladen

After beating Whiteville 6-0 last week, Red Springs will face another tough test against one of the TRC’s top teams when they travel to East Bladen on Friday. The starting gun is fired at 7 p.m.

East Bladen (2-1, 2-1 TRC) lost 36-22 to St. Pauls last week. The Bulldogs scored two late touchdowns after the Eagles returned to score in the fourth quarter. East Bladen previously won against Fairmont and South Columbus.

The Eagles’ lead man is Rasean McKoy, who has run 346 yards on just 23 carries with five touchdowns this season. Three other backs have run at least 100 meters and one or more touchdowns.

Senior Josh Hayes leads the defense with 31 tackles.

Red Springs (2-0, 2-0 TRC) defeated Whiteville after missing two games due to COVID-19 protocols. They beat Fairmont on February 25th.

Eddrick James has 150 yards and two touchdowns in two games for the Red Devils, and Angel Washington has 110 yards and a score.

Red Springs lost 15 games in the series with a 40:28 win last year. Their previous win over the Eagles came in 1978.

Richmond in Lumberton

Six days after a 0:52 loss to Pinecrest, the Sandhills Athletic Conference battle for Lumberton continues on Friday as Richmond visits Alton G. Brooks Stadium for an 6pm kick-off.

The Raiders (2-0, 2-0 SAC) compete as the second largest team in the state, according to MaxPreps. They’ve recorded a 42-35 win over Pinecrest and a 52-14 win over Hoke County this season.

Richmond is without quarterback Caleb Hood, who would be playing his senior season but enrolled early in North Carolina. Younger brother Kellan Hood has taken on the starting quarterback role and has been solid in two games. He completed 31 of 47 passes for 437 yards with three touchdowns and without interruptions. A popular target was Tremel Jones with 14 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns.

Jaron Coleman is the Raiders’ leading rusher with 137 yards and four touchdowns. Four other players have at least one quick touchdown.

The Pirates (0: 2, 0: 2 SAC) had to do without the quarterback Russell Echard in the defeat last week after a defeat of 48:34 in the previous week against Seventy-First.

Richmond is 32-1 all-time in the series, with Lumberton’s only win in 1986. The Raiders won last year’s meeting 51-7.

Seventy-first at Purnell Swett’s

Purnell Swett hopes to be more competitive than his first three games when Seventy-First visits Pembroke at 6pm on Friday.

Seventy-First (1-3, 1-3 SAC) has had a strong rushing game at times this season, but has also scored 20 points or less in three of its four games. They lost 49:20 to Scotland last week after taking their only win of the season in a 48:34 shootout at Lumberton last week.

The underclassman duo of freshman Anthony Quinn (71 carriers, 503 yards, four touchdowns) and second Jayden Shotwell (57 carriers, 466 yards, four touchdowns) are the Falcons’ lead defenders.

On the defensive, Jamieson Alston and Jasiah Harper achieve an average of almost 10 tackles per game.

Purnell Swett (0-3, 0-3 SAC) has scored six points this season; That came two weeks ago in a 30-6 loss to Pinecrest. The Rams lost 0:46 to Jack Britt last Saturday.

Purnell Swett has never beaten seventy-one in football, including the Falcons 34-14 win last season in Fayetteville.