The message boards are abuzz. Facebook statuses have been updated.
It’s the game everyone in this part of the state has been anticipating — Richmond Senior vs. Scotland County. And this time, the contest means more than just bragging rights.
All summer the Fighting Scots’ fans were cautious with their comments on the internet talking about how this game could decide the winner of the Southeastern Conference. For several years, everyone figured Scotland County led by Kwashaun Quick, Caison Murphy and Tony McRae was going to be a force, but no one knew when it was going to occur.
Experts thought last year was going to be the coming out party for the group, instead the Fighting Scots stumbled at the end of the season losing their last three games, including a 31-21 defeat in Rockingham. What made that game even more troublesome for the Scotland County faithful was blowing an 18-point lead to their archrivals.
One week later, the Fighting Scots lost in the opening round of the playoffs to Northwest Guilford, 23-22.
Despite the poor finish, the league coaches and media installed Scotland County as the preseason favorite to knock Richmond Senior off its SEC perch.
And so far the Fighting Scots have delivered.
However, there is still that one game that needs to be played.
And everyone will get to see if Scotland County is up to the task. The Fighting Scots haven’t been on the winning side of the field in the rivalry since the 1994 season.
A victory by the team to the east, gives Scotland County the outright SEC championship and one of the top seeds when the football playoff brackets are released Saturday.
Richmond supporters figured the Raiders would be in this position battling for another conference title, but expected to be undefeated like Scotland County.
Instead, Richmond is facing an almost must-win situation. Another loss would cause the Raiders to slide down the board when the North Carolina High School Association begins to seed teams. If the fall is big enough, then Richmond could be on the road for a first-round matchup.
But a win at Pate Stadium for the Raiders would secure another SEC title and more importantly a high seed. At this point in the season, more home games are like gold bars, you want as many possible.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com