ROCKINGHAM — Call it the preliminary fight before the main event.
The Scotland junior varsity football team completed an undefeated season with a 24-13 victory over Richmond Thursday night at Raider Stadium. The Scots finish their season with a 10-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Raiders wrap up their campaign with an 8-1 mark and 4-1 record in the SEC.
Two players had a big hand in keeping Scotland’s undefeated season intact — Syheam McQueen and Joe McKoy. McQueen rushed for two touchdowns and three 2-point conversions. McCoy sealed the victory with a strip-and-score and an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“Hats off to them, they were more physical than we were tonight,” Richmond JV coach Jay Jones said. “I hate to say that, but they were more physical.”
Scotland threw the ball twice in the contest and ran the rest of its offense out of the “Wildcat” formation. Scotland JV coach Michael Sellers said the team’s starting quarterback was injured in a victory earlier in the season.
“One was a good punt and the other helped us get a big first down,” Sellers said about his team’s passing attempts. “We did what we had to do. If we do anything else, we probably don’t win the game.”
Richmond trailed 16-13 midway through the fourth quarter and was driving deep into Scotland territory when McKoy stepped up. On a screen pass to Jaleen Baldwin, McCoy fought his way through three blockers to make the tackle. As Baldwin was fighting for extra yards, McCoy ripped the ball out and returned it 74 yards for the touchdown.
On the Raiders’ next possession, McCoy stepped in front of a Kaleb Douglas pass in the end zone for the interception.
“The offense would get moving and then stall,” Jones said.
The only thing that stopped the Scots’ rushing attack was turnovers. Scotland lost three fumbles in Richmond territory in the game. The first got the Raiders on the board in the second quarter. Ja’dyn McNeill scored on a 55-yard fumble return to give Richmond a 7-0 lead.
Scotland responded as McQueen pushed the ball across the goal line on a 5-yard run and tacked on the 2-point conversion to take a 8-7 lead into halftime.
McQueen scored his second touchdown of the night in the opening moments of the fourth quarter from 2 yards out and once again added the 2-point conversion to extend the advantage to 16-7. Richmond answered on the ensuing kickoff as Dante Miller returned the kick 80 yards for the score. The extra-point was wide left, but the Raiders trimmed the deficit to 16-13.
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.