LAURINBURG — A glance at the Southeastern Conference football standings points towards another season-ending matchup to determine the champion.
Before Richmond and Scotland fans can truly make those Nov. 8 plans, both teams need to maintain their winning ways over the next two weeks. The Fighting Scots will welcome Hoke County to Pate Stadium tonight, while the Raiders will play host to Lumberton.
Despite falling from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, Pinecrest is not out of the race just yet. It can still claim a share of the conference title by winning out and getting a little help along the way. The Patriots will look to get back on track when Purnell Swett visits Southern Pines.
Hoke County at Scotland
Coaches: Milton Butts, Hoke. Richard Bailey, Scotland.
Records: Hoke 2-6, 1-1. Scotland 8-0, 2-0.
Last Game: Hoke picked up its first SEC win of the season with a 38-21 victory over Lumberton. Scotland scored early and often to cruise to a 75-28 rout of Pinecrest.
Tidbits: The turnover bug continues to pester Hoke. After quarterbacks Quinn Maynor and Geoffrey Thompson combined to toss three interceptions in the win over Lumberton last week, the Bucks have now turned it over 18 times. Hoke has a turnover margin of minus 11 and hasn’t recorded an interception on defense all season. Jacob Rushing has a team-leading 557 rushing yards and eight touchdowns for the Bucks. Hoke will have to find success on the ground against Scotland to give the Fighting Scots’ high-powered offense off the field. The Bucks are averaging 303 rushing yards in their last three games. Scotland is fifth in the state amongst 4A teams in scoring, averaging 45.9 points a game. Its defense is also highly ranked, checking in at 18th, allowing 17 points a contest. Quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe has now rushed for 14 touchdowns and thrown for another 11.
Purnell Swett at Pinecrest
Coaches: Mark Heil, Purnell Swett. Chris Metzger, Pinecrest
Records: Purnell Swett 2-6, 0-2. Pinecrest 7-1, 1-1.
Last Game: Richmond shut out Purnell Swett for the second straight season 50-0. Pinecrest was handed its first loss of the season by Scotland, 75-28.
Tidbits: Despite being called a passing team by its coach Mark Heil, Purnell Swett found some room running the ball against Richmond. The Rams rushed for 135 yards in the shutout loss to the Raiders. Running back Braylan Locklear led the Rams with 84 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Thriston Lowry connected on 9 of 20 passes for just 35 yards against Richmond. Despite being limited to nine yards of offense in the first half against Scotland, Pinecrest is still ranked sixth in the state amongst 4A schools in scoring, averaging 45.3 points a game. The Patriots’ defense went from surrendering 15.3 points to allowing 24.6 after last week’s 75-28 loss at Scotland. Quarterback Christian Ledbetter was the lone bright spot for Pinecrest, scoring twice against the Scotland reserves.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer