LAURINBURG — After battling back from a 19-point deficit the week before, the Scotland football team didn’t take any chances on an upset by Lumberton ruining its bid to repeat as conference champions.
The Fighting Scots rolled to a 35-7 victory at Pate Stadium to set up a winner takes all battle with Richmond Senior for the Southeastern Conference title.
“The biggest game of the year is finally here, so now we can finally address the elephant in the room,” Scotland coach Richard Bailey said to the Laurinburg Exchange. “Between this team losing last year’s seniors and all of the new faces, having the conference come down to this final game is all you can ask for as a coach and member of the Scots. I couldn’t be more proud of where we’re at now.”
After a fumble sidetracked their first drive, the Fighting Scots (8-1, 4-0) got on the scoreboard by converting a fourth-and-short from the Pirate 42. Jaylend Ratliffe hooked up with Tra’Shawn Gregory for a touchdown. It was the first of two TD receptions for Gregory.
Ratliffe added a 10-yard scoring scamper late in the second quarter. Jalen McLean rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown in the win, while Josh McPhatter added a 33-yard run for a touchdown.
Scotland will travel to Raider Stadium 7:30 p.m. Friday to face Richmond with not only the league championship on the line, but an opportunity to grab a high seed when the state playoff brackets are released Saturday. Lumberton (4-5, 0-4) will play host to in-county rival Purnell Swett in a final attempt to try and earn a wild-card spot into the postseason.
HOKE COUNTY 34, PURNELL SWETT 14
RAEFORD — Hoke County clinched the final automatic postseason berth from the Southeastern Conference with its 34-14 victory over Purnell Swett.
The Bucks (8-2, 2-2) jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead behind the play of running back Detrez Newsome and quarterback Geoffrey Thompson. Newsome ran for a pair of touchdowns, while Thompson added three scoring rushes of his own.
After failing to record an offensive touchdown in their first three conference games, the Rams (2-7, 0-4) managed two scores last week. Josh Brooks had a 2-yard run and found Tyler Manor for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
Hoke will take on Pinecrest in the regular-season finale 7:30 p.m. Friday in Southern Pines. The winner of the contest will grab the No. 3 seed out of the SEC, while the loser will finish fourth in the standings. Purnell Swett will travel to Lumberton with an opportunity to spoil the Pirates’ playoffs hopes.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.