PEMBROKE — With its biggest test of the season looming large next week against Pinecrest, Scotland coach Richard Bailey wanted to make sure his team remained focused on the opponent in front of them Friday.
Not only did the Scots take care of business against Purnell Swett, they did so in dominating fashion, scoring 50 first half points en route to a 57-8 victory.
“It was a good night for us, it really was,” Bailey said. “I wanted to win because we played good, not because we were playing maybe an inferior opponent, and so I’m proud of our kids. I thought we really executed the gameplan. We did a lot of things well offensively, defensively and special teams.”
The Scots scored a touchdown on eight of their nine offensive possessions — the only time they didn’t find the end zone is when the game clock expired on on their final drive in the fourth quarter. On four of their eight scoring drives, Scotland scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Meanwhile, the first-team defense only allowed Purnell Swett to gain as many yards (50) in the first half as the Scots had points.
There were no signs of rust from a team that enjoyed a bye the week before.
“I thought the kids were really sharp,” Bailey said. “I think we improved in some areas during the bye week, and it wasn’t just wasted time.”
Tailback Zamir White opened the game with a 60-yard touchdown run on the Scots’ first play from scrimmage, running untouched through the Purnell Swett defense while zig-zagging his way through the Rams’ linebackers and safeties.
Quarterback Lucas Oxendine, who was injured in the Rams’ loss to New Hanover two weeks ago, got the start but was held in check for the duration of the contest by a Scotland first-team defense that has only allowed two touchdowns the past three games.
The Scots committed a procedure penalty on the first play of their next offensive series, but quarterback Dashaun Ferguson responded to throw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Randy Leak. Leak then took the snap on the extra-point attempt and ran it in for the two-point conversion to give the visitors a 15-0 lead.
After the defense forced another punt, Trevon Gibson returned the ensuing kick to the Purnell Swett 10-yard line to set up another Zamir White touchdown run, this one from five yards out to extend the Scots’ advantage to 21-0.
Linebacker Jonathan Smith recovered a Purnell Swett fumble on the Rams’ next series, then White capped the first quarter scoring with a 19-yard touchdown run on a 3rd-and-11 play.
White added another touchdown from 15 yards out to give the Scots a 36-0 lead, then with 7:15 to go before halftime, Ferguson found Willie Douglas for a 49-yard touchdown strike. Backup running back Tyquan McNealy scored the final touchdown of the half for the Scots when he scampered 27 yards into the end zone with a little over four minutes remaining.
In the second half, the running clock was turned on and Scotland inserted its second- and third-stringers.
Oxendine, who had 45 rushing yards on eight carries, scored the Rams’ lone touchdown on a 16-yard run with 5:37 left in the third quarter, then Damion Holloway bulldozed his way past the pylon for the two-point conversion.
Scotland scored its final touchdown of the game when Sergio Gibson connected with Nautica McCallum from four yards out with 8:34 left in the contest.
The Scots finished with 336 yards of offense while holding the Rams to 141. Ferguson threw for 116 yards and two scores on 2 of 4 passing, and White had 118 yards and four touchdowns on just six carries.
Oxendine was 6 of 13 for 33 yards through the air for the Rams. Jimmy Cummings had 29 rushing yards on eight carries, and Malcolm Locklear totaled 30 yards on three carries.
The Scots improved to 7-0 overall and 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference while Purnell Swett dropped to 1-6 and 0-1 in conference play.
Bailey’s team will now have a week to prepare for its most important game thus far this year when the Scots welcome undefeated Pinecrest to Laurinburg. The Patriots defeated Lumberton 42-7 Friday night.
“It’s going to be huge — it’s going to be difficult and there’s going to be a lot of distractions involved with games like this,” Bailey said. “We know what’s at stake. We have to be ready to play, we barely got out of there last year with a win and we need a great crowd at (Pate Stadium) and a true home field advantage.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.