NEWTON GROVE – When the St. Pauls soccer team returned to the field on Tuesday in Midway after quarantine, they started slowly against the Raiders.
But starting with the last four minutes of the first half and over the duration of the second half, the Bulldogs found what they lacked early and pulled away with a 64-41 win.
Midway (4-3, 1-2 Southeastern Athletic Conference) led 20-8 after a 63-yard touchdown run by Trey Gregory with 4:53 left in the first half. St. Pauls (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern) beat the Raiders 56-21 from that point to take the win.
“Hats off to Midway. They are a very well trained football team and one of the most competitive football teams we have seen in a while, ”said St. Pauls coach Mike Setzer. “They had a lot of struggle and they don’t give up. We just had to run. We have so much to clean up, but I’m proud that we were able to get back to some of our basics. “
Mikail Breeden accounted for five touchdowns for the Bulldogs; he passed for 210 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Javier Ortiz caught two touchdown passes.
KeMarion Baldwin ran 12 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns; he also caught two passes for 66 yards.
“(Breeden and Baldwin were) very valuable,” said Setzer. “I found that they did a good job of staying within our team’s philosophy and not trying to overexert oneself.”
St. Pauls succeeded in all eight two-point attempts in the game.
Midway’s 20-8 lead in the second quarter came after three lavish touchdowns, including two from Gregory, in the first 20 minutes of play; Baldwin had scored for the Bulldogs on their first game of scrimmage.
“We were a bit scared with our abilities in the first half,” said Setzer. “After half of football we calmed down a bit and got our feet a little under us.”
The turn for the Bulldogs began before halftime when Baldwin scored in a 47 yard run and found Breeden Ortiz from 23 yards to take a 24-20 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs then extended the lead to 48:27 by the 10:48 mark in the fourth quarter, scoring a 40-yard pass from Breeden to KJ Jones, a 37-yard Baldwin run, and a 28-yard Breeden -to-Ortiz happen. Gregory, who scored in the third round, scored two more touchdowns in the final third – five total for the night – but Breeden scored a 19-yard run and Baldwin a 50-yard run to keep the Raiders out throughout the game fourth to keep at arm’s length.
Now the Bulldogs will turn their attention to Friday’s game in West Bladen, which is scheduled to kick off at 7pm.
“We’re still excited about this win (Tuesday night) but as soon as we get back we’ll start watching the tape tonight,” said Setzer. “We’ll try to find out West Bladen.”
West Bladen (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern) lost his last game 16-8 against East Bladen, four days after beating Fairmont 14-12 for his only win in the Southeastern Athletic Conference. The Knights also have an overtime win against East Columbus and a blowout loss against South Brunswick in non-conference play.
Four players have made significant carries for the Knights; Hezekiah Adams has two touchdowns this season and Damarius Robinson has one.
Adams and Devon Strange have split reps in the quarterback position; Cornelius Esters was the foremost recipient of the Knights.
St. Pauls leads the all-time series 13-7 and has won five games in a row.
Lumberton in Gray’s Creek
The Lumberton Pirates’ final attempt at their first win of the season will be on the road when they travel to Gray’s Creek for kick-off on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Gray’s Creek (2-3, 1-1 United-8 Conference), trained by former Purnell-Swett coach Jon Sherman, defeated Douglas Byrd 48-0 last week for his first Conference win; the Bears lost 34-0 to Seventy-First in their first game in three weeks a week earlier. They also have a 13–12 non-conference win against Union Pines and losses to Hoke County and West Johnston.
The Bears have five players who have scored two touchdowns each this season: Richard Williams (360 rushing yards), Poor Mitchell (307 rushing yards), Javon Webb (194 rushing yards), Tyler Davis and Elijiah Oehlke.
Lumberton (0-5, 0-3 United-8) lost 49-0 at South View last week and has not scored an offensive touchdown this season.
Friday’s game will be the first inter-school meeting in football.
South view at Purnell Swet
The Purnell Swett Rams were grateful to finally be on the field on Saturday, although admittedly they still have a lot to do after a 42-0 loss to Jack Britt. They have to improve quickly if they want to give themselves a chance on Friday when South View visits Pembroke for the 7.30pm kick-off.
The Tigers (4-1, 2-0 United-8) have knocked out four of their five opponents, including a 49-0 win over Lumberton and a 55-0 win over Douglas Byrd in the past two weeks; The only team to score against South View this season is the eternal powerhouse Richmond, who beat the Tigers 23-15.
Quarterback Cedavion Wimbley has thrown 563 yards and nine touchdowns for the Tigers while rushing 127 yards. Five players have at least 22 carries for the Tigers, including Michael Breedlove (180 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Cory Barr (three touchdowns) and Christian Rutledge (three touchdowns).
South View is 9-2 all-time against the Rams and has won the last three games dating back to Purnell Swett’s last win in 2006.
Red Springs at East Bladen
The Red Springs football team have only played one game since their 22-8 win at Douglas Byrd on August 20, when the Red Devils lost 49:22 to Midway on September 17, The Red Devils return for the 7.30pm kick-off on Friday O’clock back at East Bladen.
East Bladen (2-4, 1-1 Southeastern) lost 20-8 at the Fairmont on Friday when the Golden Tornadoes lost nine games. The Eagles defeated West Bladen 16-8 last Tuesday in the conference’s opening game.
Four backs have at least 191 yards for the Eagles: Sherman Monroe (273 yards, two touchdowns), Corey Ballard (239 yards, one touchdown), Masion Brooks (196 yards, four touchdowns), and Tim McLean (191 yards). Javius Brooks has thrown 338 yards and five touchdowns for the Eagles.
East Bladen leads the all-time series 15-6 – including 15 straight wins against the Red Devils from 1993 to 2018 – but Red Springs has won the last two games, including a 27-14 decision on March 26.