LAURINBURG — After cruising to an one-sided win last week at South View, Friday night’s affair at the Boneyard was anything but easy for Scotland as they held on to defeat Jack Britt 20-14 in Fayetteville Friday night.
As good as the Fighting Scots looked last week, the team was bound to come back down to earth. But they also came crash landed in the fourth quarter after a string of mishaps nearly cost the team the victory.
Scotland struck first, as junior quarterback Dashaun Ferguson continued his stellar play from last week and connected with junior wideout Willie Douglas for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 4:42 left in the first quarter. Ferguson performed a good pump fake that caused the corner to hesitate just enough for Douglas to break free and stride in for a score. But it was the last time the Scots would score in the first half, as the Jack Britt defense bottled up Ferguson, tailback Quadrin Williams and the rest of the offense.
The Scots’ defense picked up their play as a result, and the Buccaneers had trouble moving the ball themselves. Jack Britt was able to get into field goal range just before halftime, but kicker Atilla Kurt missed the 31-yard attempt and Scotland was able to preserve their 7-0 lead going into the half.
Linebacker Tyrek Smith forced a Jack Britt fumble to open the second half and defensive back Trayvon Gibson recovered it, resulting in a huge momentum swing. Quadrin Williams capitalized on the turnover and ran in for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Scots ahead 14-0 and at that point it looked like their defense would seal the win from there.
But the Bucs responded later in the 3rd quarter, as tailback Curtis Wells scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to close the score to 14-7. Scotland turned the ball over on their next possession — an ominous sign of what was to come in the 4th quarter for the team — when Ferguson mishandled a high snap. Again, the Scotland defense stepped up and forced a punt.
Scotland broke through the Jack Britt defense with 2:45 left in the 3rd quarter when Ferguson atoned for his earlier mistake and scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, however, and Scotland went up 20-7.
Entering the 4th quarter, it looked as if Scotland would safely secure the win. The defense kept making plays when it had to and refused to allow Jack Britt to mount a comeback. But the Scots’ offense kept giving the Buccaneers chances, as Quadrin Williams fumbled with 10:36 to go, then on the next drive Dashaun Ferguson threw an errant pass on a screen play that was intercepted. Linebacker LJ Melvin took off after catching the ball and outran the entire Scotland team before Williams caught and tackled him just as he reached the endzone. A Jack Britt crowd that was largely quiet for most of the second half was suddenly it a frenzy.
It only got worse for Scotland as Ferguson threw another interception on the team’s very next possession on a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Jack Britt had the ball with 6:09 left and chance to take the lead, but Scotland’s defense again rose to the occasion as they blew up a screen pass on 4th and 2 to give the ball back to the offense with 4:05 to go.
Scotland’s offense could do nothing with it, but a clutch punt by senior punter Ben Utter forced Jack Britt to start on their own nine yard line. The Buccaneers then orchestrated their best drive of the game, converting multiple third and fourth down conversions as the team entered Scotland territory. Buccaneers’ quarterback Bryan Bryant picked his spots, running when he needed to and throwing quick and efficient passes.
But with 12 seconds left, he made a costly mistake as he threw the ball right to Scotland linebacker Brandon McMillian. McMillian dove and caught the ball, and after the play was ruled dead he stayed on the ground, covering the ball as linebacker Tyquan Ingram and the rest of his team surrounded him.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.