LAURINBURG — An unfamiliar team comes to Laurinburg this Friday for the first round of the state playoffs. Scotland is seeking to win its second Class 4A state title in three years, and that starts this week at Pate Stadium against Heritage High School out of Wake Forest.
So how does Heritage (6-5) stack up the the Scots (11-0)? Well, to start with, their record might be a little misleading.
The Huskies, coached by Jason McGeorge, have had an up-and-down season. Their longest winning streak was a stretch of three games in September, while their longest losing streak was also three games that spanned the end of October to the first day in November. They stopped the late-season skid by beating Broughton 56-33 in the regular season finale last Friday.
Although they are only one game above .500, Heritage has beaten two strong sides in Leesville Road and Knightdale. In fact, that was Knightdale’s only loss this season.
Part of the playoff intrigue comes from matching up teams that otherwise would rarely play eachother. That is definitely the case for this game. Heritage is a young school, playing just its third-ever football season since the school opened in 2010. The Huskies went 3-8 in 2011, their first season, and 6-6 last year.
Their sixth loss last season came in the first round of the playoffs against Leesville Road. Heritage got revenge this season though, when they beat Leesville 30-7.
On his weekly radio show on WLNC on Monday, Scotland coach Richard Bailey there are more unknowns when playing a new team from another area.
“All the films we have on them are of them playing other Raleigh teams that you don’t know how good they are either. We won’t really know until Friday night,” Bailey said.
Scotland and Heritage did not have any common opponents this season. However, Bailey said the team has plenty of film on the Huskies so the coaching staff feels like they have a good handle on their opponents.
Like Richmond, Heritage prefers to run the ball often, either out of a veer formation or their style of an option. Whereas Richmond played with two running backs in the backfield, Heritage lines up with just one, although sometimes they will put a wide receiver in the backfield in motion before the ball is snaped. Senior running back Joshua Jenkins and junior quarterback Blake Walters are the two main threats for the Huskies.
The Scots might benefit from having just played an option team last week, Bailey said.
Defensive coordinator Sean Burnett said the defense will continue to practice their assignments this week. It was one of the main focuses during preparation for the Raiders, and Burnett said his players did a good job of learning how to defend the option last week.
“Last Wednesday was the first perfect practice I’ve seen on the dive, pitch, and run,” Burnett said during the coach’s radio show.