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Earl’s Projections Week One: Picking again and hoping for brighter days


Earlier this year, when the pandemic-delayed 2020 football season was played, I decided to take a break from predicting from my weekly column predicting the outcome of the games.

Things were in such a fluid state as we were literally going week to week to find out if games were even going to be played. I decided it wasn’t a time to bother with something as trivial as a prediction column.

Now, as football season is about to resume in its traditional time of year, we still find ourselves facing this pandemic.

I’m going to resume making my weekly predictions, maintaining a positive outlook as we all work to beat this thing.

I know there are a lot of opinions out there, and many people are angry that their personal freedoms are being assaulted by mask mandates and with not being allowed to live life the way they choose.

I understand their frustration, but there are times when we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good, and I’m of the opinion this is one of them.

The last time I was part of a national challenge as far-reaching as this one was the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. My memory is that was a difficult event to handle as it directly affected my daily commute to college at UNC-Wilmington and forced tough decisions about where I would travel and when.

We survived that, and we are eventually going to survive this. For now, let’s continue to follow the advice of the best experts on this subject and do all we can to beat this aggravating and deadly disease.

The record: 73-23

I haven’t done this since the fall of 2019, before the pandemic hit the United States. My last picking was on Thanksgiving weekend that year when I got two games right and one wrong. All three Cumberland County teams still in the state football playoffs lost that night.

I correctly called Scotland beating South View and Southern Nash beating Terry Sanford but missed on Gray’s Creek losing to New Hanover.

My record for the year was a decent 73-23, 76.0 percent.

Let’s see if we can get off to at least that good a start for 2021.

Cape Fear at Durham Riverside - Cape Fear looked sound in its final scrimmage this year and should have enough firepower with veteran quarterback Cole Wilson leading the way to get a win in this one. … Cape Fear 28, Durham Riverside 20.

Red Springs at Douglas Byrd - The Eagles have been preaching a turnaround of their program and a new attitude under first-year coach Maurice Huey. There’s plenty of optimism on Ireland Drive, but I’m not sure how that’s going to translate to the game field. … Red Springs 22, Douglas Byrd 14.

E.E. Smith at Seventy-First - Both teams had disappointing performances in the abbreviated spring season this year. I think Seventy-First has the better chance of regrouping this fall. … Seventy-First 28, E.E. Smith 6.

Gray’s Creek at Hoke County - This was among the closest calls of opening week. I’m giving Hoke a slight edge as the home team. … Hoke County 18, Gray’s Creek 16.

Jack Britt at Pine Forest - This game had to be moved because Britt’s track is under repair. The home field will help Pine Forest, but I think the Buccaneers have the overall advantage. … Jack Britt 22, Pine Forest 12.

Southern Lee at Westover - Ernest King seems to think his Wolverines are ready to take the next step on the road to rebuilding. This game will be an indication if he’s right. … Westover 24, Southern Lee 14.

Terry Sanford at Kernersville Glenn - Tough road opener for the Bulldogs, who will be facing one of the best teams in the state based on preseason reports. … Glenn 28, Terry Sanford 15.

Overhills at South View - South View had the best record in the county in the shortened spring season. Look for the Tigers to be at the top of the standings again this season, with a tougher defense and a versatile quarterback in Cedavion Wimbley. … South View 35, Overhills 12.