LAURINBURG — After a long, tumultuous summer, the Fighting Scots unleashed their emotions on the South View Tigers, dismantling the team 52-0 during Friday night’s season opener in Hope Mills.
Scotland scored on their first offensive possession of the game, as senior Quadrin Williams scampered down the left sideline for a 48 yard touchdown. On the Scots next possession, they took advantage of a Tiger defense that was looking for another running play after being gashed the previous drive. Junior Dashaun Ferguson executed a beautiful play-action fake and drew the safeties in, leaving Randy Leak with single coverage down the middle of the field. Ferguson threw a dart and connected with Leak for a 55-yard touchdown and the Scots never looked back from there.
Head coach Richard Bailey said the playcall wasn’t initially designed to go deep, but he saw the defense appear to commit to the run and had confidence Ferguson would make the throw.
“We’re a ‘check-with-me’ type of team,” Bailey said. “We’re going to take whatever they give us. That play was called because their safety got nosey on the run Quadrin had before. When we see the safety coming over we’re going to try to throw it over his head. Football is not that complicated — if they’re over here, we go over there. If they’re over there, we go over here.”
Ferguson said he was late on the throw, but was happy with the result.
“I saw him late but he was wide open so it didn’t matter.”
Scotland would go on to score 35 first-quarter points, ending any chance South View had at a comeback from the onset. The Tigers were their own worst enemy throughout the game, as they the committed five turnovers and shanked a couple of punts.
In fact, senior Brandon McMillian scooped up a blocked punt in the endzone with 3:35 left in the first quarter to increase the Scotland lead to 28-0. The Scots led the Tigers 42-0 at halftime. With the 42-point lead, the new NCHSAA rule of a running clock went into effect, and Scotland ran the ball almost every play in the second half.
Ferguson, who was the player coming into the game that everyone had their eyes on, executed the Scotland offense efficiently. He did not throw an incomplete pass, although he wasn’t required to throw much once the Scots got ahead. There were no noticeable miscues between him and the offensive line, which benefited the running game as tailback Quadrin Williams racked up 105 yards and two touchdowns before sitting for the second half. Even freshman back Zamir White got in on the action, as he ran for a 61-yard touchdown that was Scotland’s only second half touchdown.
Ferguson said it’s easy to look good when he can hand the ball off to the talent playmakers surrounding him.
“Coach asked me how I felt out there and I said, ‘I got my boy Quad back there so it felt real good,’” Ferguson said. “I don’t have to do anything really, I hand it off, he runs it, and I like it.”
The defense was also stellar for the Scots, as they were in the backfield on several plays. South View senior QB Xavier Robinson only completed one pass all evening, a 13-yard throw just before halftime. Known for being a dual-threat quarterback, Robinson was never able to get anything going on the ground, as he totaled 9 yards on eight carries and was flushed out of the pocket on several of his incompletions.
Despite the circumstances surrounding the game, Bailey said he thought his team played with the same emotion they always play with. It was the team’s first without Jaylend Ratliffe at the helm in over two years, and he thought his team responded admirably.
“We play like that most nights,” Bailey said. “I didn’t hear a lot of ‘Let’s win it for Jaylend’ type stuff but in their hearts, trust me, pre-game speeches and stuff kids were touched by this being a game without him. But I don’t think it was any different. We’re going to hit just as hard next Friday too.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.