Last Friday night’s game against Richmond was unlike anything I have ever seen in high school football, and fans need to make sure they continue that support as the Scots enter the playoffs this week.
I wasn’t sure if the Richmond game would live up to all the hype after months of hearing about the game. But I’m happy to say that the game was not just as intense and exciting as I had been told it would be — it was better. I arrived at Scotland High School around 5:30, thinking that would be early enough to find a good parking spot.
I was wrong. I ended up parking in the grass on the outskirts of the campus near the main entrance. By the time I made my way up to the press box the line of people waiting to get in the front gate stretched all the way back to the fieldhouse entrance. And that was just one side of the stadium. Coupled with the time change, the large crowd made it seem as if kickoff was approaching even though there were still almost two hours to go.
By the time the team was ready to come out the stadium was alive and the tension was easily felt in the air. Then the Scots ran through their banner like every week, but the crowd roared in a way I hadn’t heard before. It was loud. Really loud. It’s no wonder the Scots performed the way they did with that support, crushing their rival 49-14.
It sounds weird to say it, but Friday’s first-round game against Heritage could potentially be a let down after Friday, considering all the energy and passion poured out against Richmond. On his radio show Monday night, coach Richard Bailey said the community can play a big role in making sure the team doesn’t feel like Richmond was the make-or-break game of the season.
They can do that by coming out to the game in huge numbers and getting just as excited to see this new team come to town. Obviously there are people who aren’t able to make every game. Bailey talked during his show about a man he met at the game who currently lives in Pennsylvania but comes down for this game every season, another sign of how awesome the rivalry is. The fan support throughout the season has been great, and almost every game has been packed. Richmond, however, was on another level, and if Scotland fans can keep that going Pate Stadium will be an even more difficult place for opponents to come in and win.
Heritage might not have the most impressive record at 6-5, but they have beaten some quality sides. Most notably, they defeated Knightdale early in the season. Knightdale earned the No. 4 seed in East bracket, and that was their only loss all season. So Heritage is capable of hanging around with better teams. Every game from here on out could be the last game of the year for Scotland and the last-ever for several players, so make sure you are there to show your support.