By Sonny Jones
When is a rivalry not a rivalry? When one team dominates its in-county opponent.
Welcome to the Bladen County rivalry between East and West high schools.
It’s a big game to the players, coaches and respective communities. It’s been the final game of the regular season, but, this year, for some inexplicable reason, it’s the first conference game for both teams. It needs to be the last game.
As for a rivalry, it’s been one-sided since West Bladen opened in 2001 and beat the then-Cougars when students weren’t attending West Bladen as school construction was wrapping up. East Bladen has won the next 19 meetings, including April’s 58-14 rout to close the unusual spring season.
The Eagles should make it 20 straight assuming, of course, the contest is played Monday night as planned after Friday’s postponement because of COVID protocols. EAST BLADEN 28, WEST BLADEN 14
Week 4 record: 14-2
Season record: 32-7 (82%)
Postponed/canceled through Week 4: 24
Here’s the rest of the Week 5 picks.
MIDWAY 28, RED SPRINGS 22: Midway’s offense does enough for the Southeastern Conference opening victory.
CLINTON 49, FAIRMONT 8: The Dark Horses (2-0) have their sights on winning the league title.
WHITEVILLE 42, GOLDSBORO 8: The Wolfpack is looking strong.
EAST COLUMBUS 35, LEJEUNE 6: The Gators get a win against a Devil Pups team that has been outscored 129-0 in three games.
WHITE OAK 49, HEIDE TRASK 7: Trask lost 90-62 at Hobbton three weeks ago. Should be a more conventional score, but White Oak rolls.
PENDER 21, DIXON 13: The Patriots return from COVID pause with a win.
SOUTH COLUMBUS 20, GREEN SEA FLOYDS, S.C. 13: Former West Bladen coach Russell Dove gets a nice road win.
WEST COLUMBUS 20, LAKEWOOD 16: A tight one, but the Vikings get the nod at home.
NORTH CAROLINA 35, VIRGINIA 31: Great quarterback matchup between the Heels’ Sam Howell and the Hoos’ Brennan Armstrong. Virginia has won four straight in the series and Mack Brown is only 3-9 against the Cavaliers.
WAKE FOREST 28, FLORIDA STATE 20: Did you think you’d live long enough that the Deacons were favored to beat Florida State? The Seminoles don’t lose often to Wake (30-7-1 all-time), but fell 22-20 in 2019 in Winston-Salem.
NORTHWESTERN 24, DUKE 16: Have to say that the Blue Devils haven’t been impressive. Going with the Wildcats to break the 10-10 series tie.
N.C. STATE 37, FURMAN 21: Did you know that Furman leads the series 8-5-4, which includes a pair of scoreless ties (1941, 1902) and a 5-2 win for the Paladins in 1902. The Wolfpack won 49-16 in 2017 in the first meeting since 1985.
MARSHALL 38, EAST CAROLINA 28: Pirates need a win, but don’t see it with the game in Huntington, West Virginia. If it were Greenville, it might be a different outcome.
CAMPBELL 28, PRESBYTERIAN 17: Presbyterian has scored 152 points in a pair of wins, but the Blue Hose take a step up in competition now. The Camels lost a 24-23 heartbreaker against Elon last week. It’s time for the first win of the season.
UNC PEMBROKE 34, GLENVILLE STATE 14: The Braves won 30-7 in March in West Virginia. UNCP should bounce back nicely after losing in overtime at Findley last week.
MARYVILLE 24, METHODIST 21: Maryville has won nine straight in the series. The Monarchs will make it a game, but fall short on the road.
CAROLINA 30, NEW ORLEANS 28: Overall, liked how the Panthers played against the Jets and can’t believe Jameis Winston will throw for five touchdowns like he did against Green Bay. Going against the odds, but #KeepPounding.
Sonny Jones can be reached at email@example.com.