LAURINBURG — The Scotland junior varsity football team won four games all last season.
Halfway through the 2015 schedule, the Scots have already topped that mark.
Scotland maintained its perfect record Thursday night, defeating New Hanover 40-7 at Pate Stadium to improve to 5-0.
Head coach Michael Sellers said after the win that last year’s struggles for both the ninth grade and jayvee programs inspired his players to work harder during the offseason.
“All of the coaches this summer did a great job motivating our guys, and they have come out and they understand their technique a little bit better and they have a little bit more fire than they did last year,” Sellers said.
“We had some disappointment — we were in some games and then there was some games where we got beat pretty bad. They just committed themselves not to put themselves in that situation, and that’s a tribute to our coaches and the summer program.”
The ninth-grade team was 2-6 a year ago, and the jayvee squad ended the season with a 4-6 mark.
But Sellers’ players came back with a renewed sense of urgency, and the results showed once again in the game against the Wildcats.
Scotland jumped out to a 26-0 halftime lead and added touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Joe McKoy scored the Scots’ final touchdown of the night on a 77-yard run where he juked a defender in the open field and took it all the way for the score.
Sellers said his stable of running backs, which include standouts like Khalil Smith, are thriving behind an offensive line that has dominated the opposition so far this season.
“All those guys are running hard and our guys are really excited about being a Fighting Scot and carrying on the tradition that has been one of the best football programs in the state of North Carolina and they just don’t want to let anybody down,” Sellers said.
The defense held the Wildcats scoreless, but New Hanover found the end zone in the final five minutes when it recovered a Scotland fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Sellers said the defensive line and the linebacker corps have wreaked havoc on opposing offenses, which has resulted in several lopsided wins. Scotland has won the war in the trenches against every team they have faced, and Sellers hopes they continue to play well heading into conference play next month.
“Those guys have kind of matured a little bit and kind of grown into their size,” he said. “We win the line of scrimmage. Our defensive line pounds people and our offensive is opening humongous holes.”
Scotland is off until Oct. 8 when it will host Purnell Swett.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.