LAURINBURG — Scotland’s coaches want to make sure the team stays humble for their game tonight against Hoke County, a week after the Scots put a 75-28 drubbing on then-undefeated Pinecrest.
Coach Richard Bailey doesn’t have to reach back far for a relevant example of what can happen if a team gets overconfident. Last year Hoke jumped out to a 19-0 lead against Scotland in the early stages of the game in Raeford. The Scots managed to score 34 straight points, including three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, to escape with a win, but it was not easy.
“You just continue to preach to them and give them examples of teams that were overconfident and lost, keep giving them examples of things that happened here last year with us in the Hoke County game itself, the fact that we almost lost that game,” Bailey said of keeping his team grounded. “We keep telling them we can’t win a conference championship without winning this game. We’ve got to focus on one game at a time and don’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Hoke finished last season 10-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference and was expected to be a solid team coming into this season. But for some reason the Bucks have not been able to get it going this year, as they are 2-6 (1-1). However, they have won two out of the last three games.
“I still think they’ve got all the pieces they need to be successful and they’ve played better lately,” Bailey said. “I really can’t put my hand on why they haven’t won more games because they’ve got talented people at a lot of positions.”
Hoke has started playing more players on both sides of the ball as the season has progressed as they try to put the best 11 players on the field at all times. They have also used three different quarterbacks — Antonio Peterkin, Geoffery Thompson and Quinn Maynor. All three can throw, and Maynor also plays defensive back.
Hoke’s offense is similar to that of South View, the team that Scotland (8-0, 2-0) opened the season against. In contrast to Scotland’s fast, spread offense, the Bucks run a more traditional offense featuring multiple power-runs and toss plays. However, coach Milton Butts has added a few wrinkles to the offense with the shotgun formation and jet-sweep plays.
Bailey said that a few times this season he has watched film after a blowout victory and been disappointed in what he has seen. That did not happen this week.
“(Last week) was the best half we’ve played this season. Whereas in the Purnell Swett game we won but I was not very happy with the film at all, this one matched up with what I thought,” Bailey said. “The offensive line played one of their best games this year. It was a really big improvement from what I saw at Purnell. They looked like a different offensive line.”
The offensive line will have to continue to play well this week as they face a strong Hoke defense led by Tobias Edge-Campbell, who was selected to the Shrine Bowl.
Hoke beat Lumberton 38-21 last week, and has shown that they can hang around with most teams when they played Richmond close, losing 35-23. If the Bucks can put together a complete game Friday, it could be closer than expected.
“My biggest worry is they figure it out early … They have those kind of athletes. If you miss a tackle they’re going to go to the house on you because they can fly,” Bailey said.
Bailey said senior running back Josh McPhatter is almost fully recovered from the ankle sprain he suffered in week one. McPhatter started last week and had a couple of explosive runs before sitting in the second half along with the rest of the starters.
Tonight’s game begins at 7:30.