HOPE MILLS — For the third year in a row the Fighting Scots and the Tigers of South View have warmed up and gotten ready for kick off before being then evacuated to the gym because of a lightening delay.
A passing storm Friday night kept that tradition alive and well.
Following the National Anthem the announcer came over the loud speaker to let fans and players know the game would be on a 30-minute lightening delay.
Players went inside South View High School and fans trickled out to their cars to wait out the delay.
The delay didn’t slow the Scots down any — Coach Richard Bailey went into his bag of tricks on the second offensive possession of the game by faking the punt on a fourth down and two to junior running back Zamir White for a first down. Two plays later White found the end zone from nine yards out to give the Scots a 6-0 lead early. A successful point after by kicker Grant Ciarroca put the Scots up 7-0.
The Scots offense didn’t get much of a breather, just one play after the kick return South View fumbled the ball at mid-field and it was recovered by the Scots. The offensive series that followed was one of the few the Scots were unable to capitalize on after a sack to quarterback Sergio Gibson and an incomplete pass to Barry Campbell.
A shanked punt by Ciarroca gave the Tigers decent field position at the 44 yard line. The Scots defense was able to hold off South View and then caught a break as the snap sailed over the head of the South View kicker. The Scots offense took possession at the 28-yard line and three plays later White against found the end zone to give the Scots a 13-0 lead after an unsuccessful point after to end the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Scots put seven more points on the board to take a 21-0 lead thanks to a rushing touchdown from Alston Smith — after he was hit in the backfield and the play looked like a loss. The Scots then handed the ball off to Syheim McQueen as he walked into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
After halftime, White and the Scots came out and brought the fans to their feet. White fielded the kick off and ran the ball back 70 yards for a touchdown after Khalil Smith hit a key block to clear the way for his teammate.
Despite putting 21 points on the board in the first half, Bailey was less than pleased with his offense but thought they looked better in the second half.
“We had a great start to the second half with a kick off return for a touchdown, but we still missed a lot of blocks,” he said. “Our running backs ran hard — all of them. I thought Sergio managed the game well. Defensively I thought Javon Ratliffe was everywhere. The whole defensive front did a great job, even though we missed a few tackles.”
The Scots next touchdown came off a short pass from Gibson to Campbell to give the Scots a 35-0 lead with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter.
South View scored their only touchdown off a trick play on fourth down. South View’s Keyonis Hopkins ran the ball to put the Tigers on the board. A roughing the kicker penalty on Scotland’s Amir McNeill gave South View a second chance at a point after, then a neutral zone infraction by the Scots moved the Tigers right to the goal line. The point after was good, but the Tigers still trailed the Scots, 35-7.
The Scots final touchdown of the game came off a wildcat snap to McQueen in the red zone to give the Scots a 41-7 lead after a second unsuccessful point after.
Coach Bailey was happy walking away with a first-game win but knows his team still has plenty to improve on.
“We’re not where I want us to be, but you don’t want to be perfect week one,” he said. “Obviously this film is going to be very educational for us. We are going to look at it and evaluate it and see who needs to be playing. There are still some people that we’re evaluating for playing time. Several kids are pushing to be starters and if they keep on practicing and putting good stuff on film I don’t entitle anybody. The best ones are going to play.”
The Scots host their home opener next Friday against Independence at 7:30 p.m. at Pate Stadium.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.