LUMBERTON — A room full of veteran high school football coaches in the area spanning two states vouched that the Battle of the Carolinas jamboree was one of the most, if not the best, well-run scrimmage that they have participated in during the pre-jamboree luncheon on Thursday.
The scrimmage event brings 10 teams from North and South Carolina to Lumberton’s Alton Brooks Stadium on Aug. 12, the Monday prior to the week leading into Week 1 of the regular season, to provide value on the field time for teams.
“I’ve been going to jamborees for a long time,” Scotland coach Richard Bailey said. “This has been the best jamboree that I’ve been a part of, as far as how it’s run and what we get out of it.”
The contest starts at 5 p.m. with Fairmont taking on neighboring Lake View, followed by Purnell Swett and East Bladen at 6 p.m., Red Springs and Latta at 7 p.m., Scotland and Dillon at 8 p.m. and Lumberton and Marion at 9 p.m.
The contests will be broken down to two, 20-minute running clock halves, with two timeouts for each quad. Like last season, the special teams units will get reps with teams punting on fourth down, with the ball being dead on the return. On points after touchdowns, extra point plays will be dead, and two-point conversions will be live.
East Bladen, Fairmont and Red Springs are all members of the Three Rivers Conference.
Fairmont’s draw with Lake View is not only familiar as the teams have faced each other in each of the previous four jamborees, but the schools also fall on opposite sides of the border on N.C. 41.
“They’re built a lot like us. They’re a smaller school with a lot of athletes and they are very good on the offensive line,” Fairmont coach Kevin Inman said. “It’s just a good test for us early in the preseason. Everybody knows everybody. They’ve all got cousins down there. It’s a good rivalry.”
Lake View is coming off an appearance in the second round of the state playoffs last year. The core group of players from that team are no longer on the roster, according to coach Daryl King.
While Purnell Swett returns about half of its starters from a year ago, the Rams are looking to be more balanced on offense with the lack of prominent playmakers from a year ago. Taking on a disciplined East Bladen team will provide Purnell Swett lessons, according to Brown.
“Regardless of what you run offensively or defensively, disciplined football is winning football,” interim head coach Robbie Brown said. “I think it helps us playing a disciplined team seeing their fundamentals. I think it helped us last year because of that.”
For the second year in a row, Latta takes on Red Springs.
“It was game experience without game experience. That’s the best thing. This jamboree provides us with an in-game experience before the bullets fly for real,” Red Springs coach Lawrence Ches said. “It’s immeasurable for evaluating our kids. Latta offers an opportunity to go fast early in the season. They run no-huddle and spread, and in that heat, in August, it makes us really find out where our conditioning is.”
Scotland and Dillon have each played in their respective states’ championship games each of the last two years.