LAURINBURG — Scotland head coach Richard Bailey is over having practice — he’s ready for Friday night. The Fighting Scots open their 2016 season with a trip to South View, a team Bailey feels is much improved from the Tigers they faced last season.
“I would rather play games than practice,” said Bailey. “I tell them all the time I’m the head coach and I don’t like to practice, but I love Friday nights and I know practice is necessary because Friday is no fun if we don’t win. In order to do that you have to prepare.”
South View finished the 2015 season 2-9 overall under first-year head coach Rodney Brewington. Now in his second year, Brewington has the Tigers looking much sharper according to Bailey.
“Last year it was their first game, under a new head coach, coming into Pate Stadium,” said Bailey. “That can be a little tough on anybody. I think they are going in the right direction and are better this year than they were last year. Physically it looks like they’ve been in the weight room and have gotten bigger. The whole team looks more confident in what they’re doing.”
On the field, South View will be lead by sophomore quarterback Donavan Brewington, who is coach Brewington’s son. The 5-foot 9-inch quarterback had a stand out freshman season throwing for 1,302 yards with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Brewington and the Tigers run a Wing-T offense which is something Bailey and the Scots don’t see very often, but they have prepared as best they can.
“It is a little bit rare. We don’t see it much at the 4A level, so we’ll only see it once or twice a year so it’s a little hard to prepare for to get our scout team kids to simulate it, which makes it a little more difficult,” said Bailey. “I feel like we’ll be alright, East Bladen ran the Wing-T so we got a little practice in that scrimmage. But by the same token South View got to watch that film and see how we lined up against it.”
For those who don’t know, the Wing-T offense sets up with one of the half backs in the back field, while the other The other goes in motion towards the quarterback when the ball is snapped.
South View has some Division I bound offensive linemen who will be looking to make the Wing-T even harder for the Scots to defend. South View junior Michael Edwards, 6’ 6” and 315 pounds already has offers to play for the University of North Carolina after he graduates. A fact that fives Bailey something he can motivate his defensive linemen with.
“They have some Division I players on their team, a couple juniors, who already have college scholarship offers,” he said. “Anytime the quarterback is a coach’s son he is usually a pretty smart kid and knows how to play the game. I’ve been impressed with him. I’ve been telling our defensive linemen who are going up against the kid that North Carolina is offering a scholarship to as an offensive lineman. You’re going up against him all night — you want a scholarship, take his.”
The other offensive threat the Tigers have is senior running back Keyonis Hopkins, who had 238 carries for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
On defense, South View runs a 3-3 stack which features three down linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. Though it might seem like an odd choice against a run-heavy team like Scotland, the goal is to create mismatches with the offensive linemen so the faster defensive backs can get to the quarterback and the running back to try and stop them for a loss.
“They will have a lot of people around the box,” said Bailey. “They played straight man-to-man last year and tried to put eight guys in the box to stop Zamir (White) and he rushed for about 270 yards.”
White finished last season’s game with 276 yards and four touchdowns.
Despite all the practices and preparation Bailey knows there are still going to be some nerves from his very young team — some of whom haven’t seen varsity playing time yet.
“There is always a little bit of the first game jitters, even for coaches,” said Bailey. “There will be a little feeling each other out early and hoping the nerves don’t get the best of us.”
The goal of every Friday night is to win, but Bailey said his favorite part is the strategy.
“I like having an opponent to prepare for, the game planning part of it,” he said.”That’s really as a coach what you live for, to out game plan your opponent.”
Scotland and South View will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday in Hope Mills.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.