LAURINBURG — For four straight years, Scotland and Richmond have met at the end of the season with the Southeastern Conference championship hanging in the balance.
And in each of those contests, the Scots have gotten the better of their arch-nemesis.
This season, the stage is set for an all-too-familiar scene — the Scots and Raiders will once again play for conference supremacy Friday night at Pate Stadium.
Scotland snapped a 17-year losing streak to Richmond in 2011 on its way to the program’s first state championship. Former head coach Chip Williams retired after that season, and current skipper Richard Bailey was hired to build on the success his predecessor achieved.
Bailey himself was unable to get over the proverbial Richmond hump as Jack Britt’s head coach, going 0-9 versus his Rockingham foe. That losing skid included a 38-35 defeat to the Raiders in the 2008 4AA state championship game.
But since taking over at Scotland in 2012, Bailey has yet to lose to Richmond. He will look to notch his fourth victory in a row against the Raiders at the end of the week.
Before the two teams take the field Friday, it’s time to examine each Scotland-Richmond tilt dating back to the Scots’ initial breakthrough four years ago.
Scotland emphatically ended an almost two decade-long skid to Richmond, routing the Raiders 41-7 in Pate Stadium. The victory kept the Scots’ undefeated record in tact, and they eventually marched on to pound Porter Ridge to secure a 4A state championship.
The two-headed rushing attack of Tony McRae and Kwashaun Quick overwhelmed the Raiders — McRae had four touchdowns on the ground, and Quick tallied almost 400 yards of total offense. The lethal dual-threat quarterback had 187 rushing yards on nine carries, and he also racked up 171 yards through the air.
Scotland’s defense didn’t take a back seat in the win, either, as the unit held Richmond to 185 total yards.
The Scots led 41-0 at one point before the Raiders were finally able to get on the board against the host’s second-team defense.
One year after Scotland graduated many of its star players from its state championship-winning squad, Bailey and a quarterback by the name of Jaylend Ratliffe entered enemy territory seeking an upset over the previously-undefeated Raiders.
It was a slugfest befitting of arguably the top rivalry in North Carolina, and in the end the Scots came away with their second straight victory against Richmond.
Ratliffe rushed for a 25-yard touchdown with less than three minutes remaining to break open a tie game, and the Scotland defense forced a turnover on the Raiders’ final offensive possession to secure the 21-14 win in Rockingham. That clutch go-ahead score was a coming out party of sorts for the then-sophomore — he finished the game with 145 yards on 22 carries as the Scots racked up almost 250 yards on the ground.
Scotland’s defense once again shined, recovering three fumbles and intercepting one pass.
Scotland’s third win in as many years against its rivals to the west featured far less drama than the second, as the Ratliffe-led Scots scored 35 second-half points en route to a 49-14 win in Laurinburg.
Richmond’s ground attack and passing game were bottled up once more — the Raiders only managed 3.1 yards per rush, and the three quarterbacks who saw playing time combined to toss three interceptions while totaling 84 yards between them.
The Scotland defense forced seven Richmond turnovers, returning three fumbles for touchdowns and taking an interception back to the house. Those 28 points outpaced the Scots’ offense, which put 21 on the board.
Ratliffe had another huge game on the ground, rushing for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Richmond welcomed Scotland to Rockingham sporting an unblemished record for the second time in four meetings, but it was the Scots who walked off the field victorious.
Despite playing without Ratliffe, who missed the year after suffering a fractured skull in an ATV accident during the preseason, Dashaun Ferguson stepped in under center and led the Scots to a 34-13 victory. The then-junior completed 6 of 7 passes for 122 yards and one touchdown, and rushed for 69 more yards with another score.
Leading 27-13 in the fourth quarter, Scotland took the air out of the ball with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that drained nine minutes off the game clock. Zamir White punctuated the possession with 2-yard touchdown run to give the Scots a three-score lead and all but end any chance the Raiders had at mounting a comeback.
White finished with 134 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and fellow backfield mate Quadrin Williams gained 118 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Scotland ran the ball 53 times for 329 yards, dominating time of possession while keeping an explosive Richmond offense on the sidelines for much of the contest.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.